The 2012 NFL draft is just a few more days away now, and while it happened nearly two months ago, Nevada linebacker James-Michael Johnson informed me tonight on Twitter that he met with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the combine in late February. The Steelers were allowed to meet with up to 60 players for 15 minutes in Indianapolis, so it is hard to read too much into each every prospect that they indeed sat down with. Johnson was not one of the 30 pre draft visitors to Pittsburgh that we know of and we do not know for sure if the Steelers were one of the 15 teams that had representatives at the Wolfpack pro day in late March.
Johnson started 50-of-54 games for Nevada during his career; 23 at strong-side linebacker and 27 in the middle, and he ranks sixth in school history with 299 tackles (170 solos). His 39.5 tackles-for-loss placed him fifth on the Pack’s career-record chart. At the combine Johnson measured in at 6011 and weighed 241 pounds. He ran a 4.68 40 time reportedly to go along with a 4.37 short shuttle time. He did 23 reps on the bench and posted a 37 inch vertical jump to go along with a 10\’04” broad jump. He trimmed down his short shuttle time to 4.23 and also lowered his 3 cone time down to 6.99, but stood on the rest of his combine measurables.
Johnson, a team captain and all-conference selection, excelled at the Senior Bowl and is expected to be drafted anywhere between the late second-round to early fourth-round according to many rankings. The Steelers could have inside linebacker on their early round draft list after veteran James Farrior was released this past offseason. Larry Foote is expected to compete with Stevenson Sylvester for the BUCK role this coming season. I have listed Johnson as a possible third round pick for the Steelers in my final mock draft.