Steelers 2022 undrafted free agents: Who will stay and who will go?
Steelers EDGE Tyree Johnson
Texas A&M, 6’-2”, 241 lbs.
Johnson was listed as a defensive lineman but he was used primarily as an edge rush specialist. He lacks the size to play on the D-Line. His best fit in the NFL will be at outside linebacker. In 2021 he played in 12 games and had 31 tackles, 9.0 for a loss, and 8.5 sacks. For his career, he had 23.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks
Watching his game film, Johnson has some pass rush moves and power. If he gets his hands on the inside he can bring a good bull rush. He has a good bend to get around big offensive tackles. He can get stopped in his tracks if an OT with good hand use latches onto him. He had a strange tendency to pull up when a play moved away from him rather than continuing his pursuit.
Coaches generally browbeat players to play through the entire snap, so, that’s a head-scratcher. I think you also have to wonder why, with his value as a pass rusher, Johnson couldn’t stake a claim to a starting outside linebacker job.
Given the abundance of pass rushers the Steelers already have in T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derek Tuszka, and Genard Avery, there’s no chance of Johnson making the roster and he might struggle to stick on the practice squad. His road is through special teams and even there he’ll have a lot of competition. Still, if his pass rush game translates to the NFL his chances greatly increase. This is another player who will be interesting to watch in the preseason.
Chances of sticking: Johnson has an above-average chance of making the practice squad. It all depends on if the coaches think he can be developed as an every-down sub at OLB.