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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cedric Johnson (DE – Mississippi)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cedric Johnson (DE – Mississippi)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Missippi defensive end Cedric Johnson.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cedric Johnson

Cedric Johnson (DE – Mississippi)

6-foot-3 | 265 pounds

Background:

Three-star recruit who rotated into the defense as a freshman back in 2020, finishing with seven tackles and three sacks, before taking over a starting role the following year and posting 32-8.0-6.5. Followed that up with 32-4.5-4.0 in a 2022 campaign in which his snaps were only about two-thirds of that in 2021, and then saw his playing time and production recover back to 40-6.5-5.5 this past year.

Positives:

Big, very thickly-built edge defender with three years of SEC starting experience. Typically lines up in a two-point stance off the left end of the defense, but will also put his hands in the dirt and play as a traditional defensive end. Fires out with some explosive power to jolt opposing blockers. Able to set a hard edge. Strong lower body allows him to hold the point of attack effectively when run at. Plays with discipline as the conflict defender. Shows a pretty good motor in pursuit. Brings a high level of intensity as a pass-rusher, with a better first step than anticipated. Mixes up his rush approach fairly often; at his best when he’s using his natural strength to convert speed to power and bull-rush opposing tackles to collapse the pocket. Possesses powerful, active hands. Has some lateral quickness to shuffle and find lanes to the passer. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes. Was asked to carry backs into the flats on occasion.

Negatives:

Would like to see more discipline in his run fits; sometimes gets too far upfield, leaving creating rushing lanes for opposing backs. Doesn’t always make full use of his length, throwing his body around more often than you’d like. Was never a sack artist in school. Not a major threat to win the edge with speed, but can be a bit too speed-oriented as a rusher; would like to see more commitment to bull-rushing. Can be a bit of a waist-bender when trying to work around the edge. Doesn’t have a ton of flexibility in his lower body. Took a few dozen snaps in coverage this year but doesn’t have the ideal athletic profile for that role.

Summary:

One of the thickest edge rushers in this year’s class, he has some explosiveness in his first step, plays with a violent and physical on-field temperament, and possesses the power and anchor strength his size would suggest. At the same time, sometimes lapses into a speed-based, rush-first approach which can occasionally undermine run fits and doesn’t really match his physical/athletic profile. By relying more heavily on his bull rush and showing more consistent discipline, could develop into a pretty nice two-gap strongside edge defender.

Projection: Round 5-6

More 2024 NFL Draft Prospects

Defensive Linemen

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