Another former fourth-round pick, Buddy Johnson enters a really weird training camp. On paper, Johnson looks the part of a Steelers linebacker. He has good size and tested well as an athlete. He has a hard-hitting nature that is focused on stopping the run. Despite those positives, Johnson barely made the field last season.
While a fourth-round pick shouldn’t be counted on to make an impact right away, Johnson is entering camp at one of the most crowded positions. The top three linebackers are set, which leaves the bottom four players jostling for a spot on the depth chart. Johnson could very well beat out his competition, but that is far from a lock.
What he really needs to do is stand out in camp. He has all of the traits to flash there, so a strong start can earn him more reps quickly. As well, he really needs to make an impact on special teams. That is his best path to playing time this season. If, however, he starts off slow, Johnson could quickly get buried on a deep depth chart.