Cam Johnson was a star receiver and defensive back in high school, and was highly ranked as a safety and outside linebacker prospect. Johnson was also a double digit scorer in basketball.
Johnson was a force at defensive end for the Cavaliers during the past two seasons after initially playing linebacker his first two years, including getting some action as a true freshman in 2008. Johnson consistently generated a pass rush, and gave a robust and quality effort against the run. Johnson had 40 tackles, including five tackles for loss, two sacks and one pass defensed in 2009, 53-14-6-4 in 2010, and 30-11-4-1 in 2011.
As an NFL Draft prospect, Johnson is clearly best suited as a 4-3 strong side defensive end, although he has potential as a 3-4 DE because of superior power. A hard working kid who is relentless on the field, Johnson has a classic NFL defensive end frame with long arms.
Issues with hip stiffness and quickness off the snap raise concerns regarding NFL edge rush ability. Johnson's explosion, power, and ability to close quickly will certainly receive NFL attention, as will the Combine MRIs for old injuries.
Strengths: Tremendous explosion, accelerates low with power. Relentless blindside pursuit, tracks down ball carriers on the other side of the field. Fast in a straight line. Excellent wide and bull rushes when quick off the snap. Strong tackler. Has good power in hands and can anchor, shed, and chase.
Weaknesses: Is slightly high cut and somewhat stiff in the hips, likely too stiff for 3-4 OLB consideration. Doesn't change directions well. Can be late off the snap. Has a history of serious injuries, including knee and pectoral. Needs more pass rush moves beyond wide and bull.
NFL Comparison: Tyler Brayton, Carolina Panthers