STRENGTHS - Johnson can be a consistent tackler due to taking proper angles and wrapping up ball carriers. He is physical when taking on blocker and uses sound leverage to maintain his position. He can shed/disengage and make the tackle. He is athletic enough to change directions smoothly and quickly especially on cutbacks. His greatest ability is working thru the trash and finding the ball.
WEAKNESSES - Instinctively, he can get lost and tend to be a beat late at the snap which causes him to not get proper depth in coverage. His range in coverage is extremely limited and when in man to man coverage he can easily lose sight of his responsibility because he keeps his eyes on the QB. Too often allows receivers to catch the ball in front of him and is content to just make the tackle. He does not show great explosiveness or the speed to be a sideline to sideline defender. Although he is a consistent tackler he tends to catch the ball carrier instead of driving through the tackle.
SUMMARY - As a former Parade All-Amercan coming out of high school, Nico Johnson made an instant impact at Alabama as a true freshmen and even earning 3 starts at the Will linebacker position. He has struggled to be a consistent starter in college due to his limitations in the passing game but has played in every game since joining the Tide. His physical nature and run stopping ability are very evident as he consistently finds himself around the ball. At the NFL level he is bested suited to play in short yardage situations and could make the occasional start against run oriented teams, which are fewer and fewer these days. His inability to stay on the field all 3 downs will cause him to drop in the draft. If he can improve on his run/pass recognition and show better explosiveness he could develop into a starter at the ILB or MLB depending on the team's scheme. Overall, Nico Johnson is a solid 4th round pick with some upside and could see time on special teams which would give him more time to develop. .