Tom Johnson, DT Southern Mississippi
Numbers: 6020/287 pounds/5.08 forty-time
2005 stats: 26 tackles, 28 assists, 9-38 tackles for loss, 3.5-22 sacks, 2 passes broken up, 1-0-0 fumble recovery, 3 forced fumbles
The player: Johnson was a big kid who didn't even consider football until his junior season of high school, and despite a successful senior outing, wasn't recruited by any major colleges. Instead he went to Gulf Coast Community College and looked like Superman. In two seasons, he recorded 123 tackles and 31 sacks. When he transferred to Southern Miss they looked at his numbers and switched him to end — and he did nothing. Back at nose tackle as a senior, he put up decent numbers and was a consistent problem for opponents in the middle. He appears to be a player on the rise and got better as the season progressed. When I saw him play, he seemed more strong than fast, but had some explosion and was adept at crushing the pocket and splitting double teams.
How he fits: Johnson told some reporters that the Colts want him to play end, but unless they're planning on moving others on the depth chart inside, it would be an unusual move. Not only is there a logjam at end and depth questions at tackle, but Johnson played his best at tackle and his size/speed numbers appear to project him inside. They'd be best served to stock him away and hope he adds some more bulk without losing any of quickness.
Reminds me of: Brian Howard, Rams
Photo: University of Southern Mississippi Athletics
Jerry's Take On .... Tom Johnson
Colts Blitz Top Stories
Colts' Mathis Expects 'Marv' To Be BriefHall of Fame inductee wasn't much of a talker during playing days.
Several Colts Have Extra SeasoningNot only do Colts have NFL's oldest player in Adam Vinatieri, they have several other key contributors who are proud '30-somethings.'
Analysis: Is It Make-or-Break or Beyond That?Former third-round pick Hugh Thornton has started 32 games in three seasons but still has a lot to prove this preseason.
NFL's Oldest Player Still Loving Every MinuteAgeless Adam Vinatieri upbeat and eager about 21st season.