In the days leading up to the Giants' rookie minicamp, we had a lot of questions about one of the tryout kids, Kentucky middle linebacker Micah Johnson.
Seems like the school's leading tackler (105) made enough of an impression on the coaching staff, as he will become the only tryout to get a contract. An eventual roster spot is still a long, long shot, but at least he'll get a look at June's full-team minicamp to see whether he's worthy of getting a training camp spot.
Johnson made the announcement himself on his Facebook page.
"Killed mini camp!" Johnson wrote. "The coaches are excited about me..or so dey say! Lol...but yeah its offical [sic] I'm a Giant! Gettin signed tommorrow [sic]! Thankin god every second for givin me dis opportunity! So u know imma go hard!"
As high as the coach's standards might be for on-field production, they appear diametrically lower for grammar and usage. But, hey, he's there to make tackles, not lectures on James Joyce.
Here's what NFL Draft Scout had to say about the 6-foot-2, 258-pound Wildcat, whose stock dropped after a torn MCL in the Music City Bowl caused a slow 4.99 40 at the combine.
Read and React: Highly aggressive run defender. Can be beaten with effective play-action. Typically diagnoses run plays, showing the burst to slice through the line and stop the back for a loss. Feels blockers coming and protects himself from cuts. Sniffs out screens and draws. Rarely out of position against the run.
Pass defense: Only marginal straight-line speed and is stiff when asked to change direction in coverage. Shows at least adequate instincts for zone, but isn't a natural in this area.
Pass rush: Good size and strength to rush the passer. Typically relies on a simple bull rush, but can get under the pads of the blocker and push him into the pocket. Times his blitzes well and shows a closing burst when the ballcarrier is near.
Run defense: A decided strength in his game. Reads the action and shows a good initial burst to slice through the gap and close to make the tackle at or near the line of scrimmage. Good size and strength to take on and shed blockers, though he needs to be more consistent. Has a tendency to play too upright and can get locked up by blockers, but has good strength to disengage when he keeps his pad level low. Flashes the strength to pull down the ballcarrier with arm tackles while engaged with blockers. At his best playing in the box, as he has only moderate speed to beat the back to the sideline. Protects his knees from the cut block by sprawling and keeping his head on a swivel.
Tackling: Typically a strong, secure tackler in tight quarters and in space. Forceful hitter who has shown the ability to force fumbles, but could do a better job of wrapping up securely, as he'll launch himself into the ballcarrier (but also the potential to miss tackles). At least moderate lateral quickness and balance to break down in space and make the reliable open-field tackle on elusive ballcarriers. Good hustle laterally and downfield to make the play.
Intangibles: Has had multiple knee injuries, including one that required arthroscopic surgery in 2007 and twice losing time in 2009 to MCL injuries. Suffered his latest MCL injury in the final moments of the loss to Clemson in the Music City Bowl. Suspended in the spring of 2007 due to academics.
Guess that means I'll be saying farewell to my favorite tryout guy, 33-year-old defensive end Brandon Crawford. Semper Fi, Brandon.