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Getting to know the Steelers 2022 UDFAs: Tyree Johnson

The Steelers added a second player from the Texas A&M defensive front hours after the 2022 NFL draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 02 Capital One Orange Bowl - Texas A&M v North Carolina Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After the Pittsburgh Steelers selected seven players in the 2022 NFL draft, they continued adding to the roster with ten undrafted free agents. With many draft profiles focusing on those players towards the top and middle of the NFL draft, it is time to get to take a look at these other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who will have just as much opportunity to make the roster in 2022 as those who were selected in the draft, despite the more difficult path.

Remember, some draft profiles for these players are quite harsh as they are looking at them as a draftable prospect. Taking a flyer on an UDFA is a completely different story as many times the potential the player shows is what lands them on an NFL offseason roster.

First on the list is Texas A&M outside linebacker Tyree Johnson.


Tyree Johnson

Outside linebacker
Red-shirt Senior
Texas A&M
6’4” 240 lbs

After a red shirt season, Tyree Johnson made the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2018 with 14 tackles, two for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Stepping up to 32 tackles and 4.0 sacks as a sophomore, Johnson followed up with another solid season in his junior year with 23 tackles and 4.0 sacks. As a senior, Johnson had 31 tackles, nine of which were for loss, and 8.5 sacks along with a fumble recovery.


Current Steelers at the position:

Outside Linebacker

  1. T.J. Watt
  2. Alex Highsmith
  3. Derrek Tuszka
  4. Genard Avery
  5. John Simon
  6. Delontae Scott
  7. Tyree Johnson
  8. T.D. Moultry

Draft Profiles:

Here was a breakdown of Johnson from thedraftnetwork.com:

Tyree Johnson is a former 3-star prospect from the Washington D.C. area. Johnson is a redshirt senior defensive lineman that has contributed since the 2018 season, starting/playing in more than 40 games as an Aggie. Johnson is a versatile edge defender that has had his most productive season this past season. During the 2021 season, Johnson was able to rack up eight sacks and more than 30 tackles. This performance was rewarded with Johnson being named a Second-Team AP All-American and it also helped put Johnson on the radar for many NFL scouts. Johnson is a defender that has shown he can play the run effectively and also provide a good rush from the edge. Early on in his NFL career, I believe that Johnson will have to focus on developing his pass-rush repertoire and should primarily be used as a rotational guy. Johnson has a knack for getting to the quarterback and while he doesn’t have any elite traits like speed or length, he is a guy that has upside as a starting edge player in the NFL.

Ideal Role: 3-4 OLB

Scheme Fit: 3-4

Here is another recent breakdown following the 2021 season from si.com:

Overall, Tyree Johnson doesn’t have the frame, strength, flexibility, or length to be a difference-making pass rusher in the NFL. He has the upside to be a situational pass-rusher who could be a 3-4 OLB at the next level. Johnson is a smart run defender who lacks the desired size/physicality to be a three-down player.

Finally, here is a breakdown of Johnson from NFL.com:

Overview

Explosive edge talent whose pass rush tape far surpasses the run defense tape. Johnson won’t get dominated at the point of attack, but he’s far less urgent and invested in thwarting blocks. He plays with a powerful base to balance through contact but needs to work on playing past blockers for better tackle production. His pass rush offers an impressive pairing of explosive speed and elite bend that can rocket him up and around the edge to hunt quarterbacks. The traits are present to project him as a future sub-package rusher.

Strengths

Plays low and with good stability through contact.

Quick response to capture contain positioning play-side.

Pass-rush elements are connected and fluid.

Frequently capitalizes on an early rush advantage.

Explosive get-off can rocket him around the corner as rusher.

Eye-popping bend and ankle flexion at the turn.

Hip strength leaves him unbothered by redirection.

Can rush to additional depth and pivot sharply to access the pocket.

Weaknesses

Blocks land and stick to him for longer.

Lacks suddenness as a run-game defender.

Feet get heavy in lateral change of direction.

Needs to play with greater urgency from backside.

Rush dies when tackles get into him cleanly.

Hasn’t created a menu of moves and counters.

Inside spin doesn’t get him where he wants to be.

Could struggle to drop and cover in 3-4 scheme.


Film:

To finish off the breakdown of Tyree Johnson, no evaluation is complete without film: