No Combine, No Problem for Kaleb Johnson

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- A lack of invitation to the NFL Combine created a chip on Kaleb Johnson's shoulder but only motivated him on his path to the NFL Draft. The four-year Rutgers starter discussed his path after Rutgers pro day, where he impressed on the bench press.

With no NFL Combine invitation, former Rutgers offensive lineman Kaleb Johnson decided it was time to prove doubters wrong.

A 307-pound lineman most comfortable as a right tackle, Johnson needed a strong pro day this week in front of all 32 NFL teams.

He did not disappoint with 34 reps on the bench press (good for fourth compared to combine participants) and strong testing numbers elsewhere.

“I think I did decent,” Johnson said. “I had a few goals I didn’t reach. I wanted to get 40 on the bench and I wanted to run a sub-five 40. Overall, I feel like I did a good job. Talking to a couple of the scouts out there, they feel the same.”

The four-year Rutgers starter received an invitation to camp with the New York Giants, which is the first step after what he considers a combine snub.

“This was my combine,” Johnson said at pro day. “Going out showing what I could do, like I said before, I knew I could show out here and do my best. I’m excited to see what happens going forward.

“That’s something that’s going to be under my skin for the rest of my life. It’s kind of a chip on my shoulder throughout my career in the league. I won’t be able to say I went to the combine. Hey, I guess it happens for a reason. It’s going to keep my hungry.”

Johnson started at three different positions during his Rutgers career, including two seasons as the left guard. He hopes that versatility improves his stock come April.

“I’m an offensive lineman,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to put a tag on my name. I feel like I can play any position.

“I have as much athleticism as any football player. It’s just going out and showing what I can do.”

While Johnson continues NFL workouts in his home state of Florida, younger brother Jordan Johnson has a role model closer to home.

A Scout four-star offensive lineman in the 2016 class, Jordan Johnson is one of the top offensive linemen on many recruiting boards.

“Of course I’ve been his ear just letting him know,” Kaleb Johnson said. “Pick the school that he wants to go to, not just because of me. He’s doing great right now. He’s beating people up in wrestling with a couple of moves I taught him. I’m proud of him. He’s a great kid.

“… I see myself in him. He’s a mauler out there. I can tell he’s a Johnson boy. He’s athletic. He’s stronger than I was at that age. If you think I’m halfway decent, I can’t wait for you to see him.”


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