The Eagles made a minor trade up on Saturday to draft linebacker Kyron Johnson out of Kansas in the sixth round.
Johnson, 23, is listed as a linebacker but might fit with the Eagles as a SAM ‘backer/hybrid pass rusher.
While he’s undersized at 6-foot, 231 pounds, Johnson was a versatile piece in that Kansas defense during his five seasons in college. He played linebacker, edge rusher, defensive end and more. He could be the backup SAM behind Haason Reddick.
In 2021, Johnson started 12 games and had 5 1/2 sacks, 7 1/2 tackles for loss and 4 forced fumbles. He was a second-teamer on the All-Big 12 team and the Eagles got a chance to see him at the Senior Bowl. At the last practice in Mobile, Johnson lined up as a defensive end to show off his versatility.
While at the Senior Bowl, the Eagles did have some contact with Johnson.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Johnson was not invited to the combine but ran a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day to go along with a vertical jump of 39 1/2 inches, a broad jump of 10-0 and a 3-cone time of 6.98. He has an impressive athletic profile that should at least make him a valuable special teams contributor. At this point in the draft, it’s worth it to take players with athleticism.
He’s a slightly older prospect and will turn 24 on July 24.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had Johnson projected to go in the fifth round. This is what he wrote about him:
“Fifth-year senior who played two different positions and saw just nine total team wins during his journey at Kansas. Johnson's tape as an edge defender in 2021 is better than anything he produced as an inside linebacker, but he likely lacks the traits and tools to stay on the edge in the NFL. He has shown noticeable improvement and consistency handling his business at the point of attack and he has excellent speed to range across the field. However, he lacks the instincts needed to process and play quickly between the tackles. His best shot to make a team is as a backup 4-3 Sam with above-average special teams potential.”
The Eagles traded up from pick 188 to 181 to get Johnson. They gave up a seventh-round pick (No. 237) to move up.
The Eagles came into Day 3 with a fifth- and seventh-round pick. But they traded away No. 154 in the fifth to pick up two sixth-rounder (Nos. 188 and 198). They eventually traded up from 188.
Here’s an updated look at the Eagles’ draft so far:
1-13: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
1-18 (and 101): TRADE for A.J. Brown
2-51: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
3-83: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
6-181: Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas
6-198: (from JAX)
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast