At 6'1", 245 pounds, Nevada's James-Michael Johnson is a compact linebacker who possesses good athleticism. He had a very successful run at Nevada, recording 50-plus tackles in each of his four seasons.
During his college career, Johnson also helped the Wolf Pack find a ton of success, especially in their 13-1 2010 season. He's an aggressive player who routinely delivers a pop, often helping increase the intensity level of the entire defense.
Todd McShay and Scouts Inc. had Johnson rated as the fifth-best middle linebacker prospect as "a sideline-sideline player with above average range," who has the "burst to chase backs down from behind. Uses active hands and feet to slip blocks and sift through traffic quickly."
Johnson's combination of experience, athleticism and effort makes him a candidate to have an early impact in the league. He's a four-down player who does a good job in coverage and can contribute on special teams.
Able to man the middle of either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, Johnson has scheme versatility. And his feel for developing routes makes him a strong coverage linebacker. At a bare minimum, Johnson will provide an early impact on special teams and in passing situations.
He may hail from a small school, but Johnson has big impact potential. It's why he was a Top-100 prospect on Matt Miller's Big Board.