Report: FSU edge Jermaine Johnson visits Lions on pre-draft visit

Pride of Detroit

According to a report from Jordan Schultz, Jermaine Johnson—one of the best edge defenders in this year’s draft class—visited the Detroit Lions on a pre-draft visit on Monday. This comes just a day before the Lions hosted Oregon edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux on a pre-draft visit, as confirmed by his Instagram on Tuesday.

Johnson and Thibodeaux represent two of the best defensive players who could be available for Detroit with the second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. While Thibodeaux is largely included in the conversation for the top three edge defenders in this year’s class (with Aidan Hutchinson and Travon Walker), Johnson is widely considered just outside that conversation. Although there are plenty who believe he belongs with that group. The Draft Network has Johnson ranked as the third best edge defender in this class (behind Hutchinson and Thibodeaux) and their eighth overall prospect. While Pro Football Network has Johnson ranked as the fifth-best prospect in his year’s class, only behind Thibodeaux at the edge position. Even local reporter Dave Birkett had the Lions taking Johnson in his latest mock draft.

After two somewhat quiet years as a rotational player at Georgia, Johnson transferred to Florida State for the 2021 season. There he absolutely thrived, blowing up for 70 tackles, 18.0 tackles for loss, including 12.0 sacks. While he’s not quite the athletic freak that some of the top players in this class, he’s not short on athleticism.

Johnson is a well-balanced player who defends the run almost as well as he can rush the passer. Some may be put off by the lack of production until his last year in college, but his effort is obvious on tape, and he has more than enough physical traits to develop into a more consistent player.

The question here is whether the Lions are interested in Johnson with the second overall pick or are they doing their due diligence in case they complete a trade down later in the first round?

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