Delano Johnson making his mark

Delano Johnson has closely watched the ascension of former Bowie State running back Isaac Redman, and how he has progressed from an obscure small-school standout to emerge as a key component of the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense. "He's a good friend of mine, without a doubt," said Johnson, a Bowie State linebacker. "I speak to him about every week. He calls me and gives me positive energy."

"He tells me don't listen to anybody. Drafted or free agent, it's about seizing the moment. He's a great mentor and a brother to me."

Johnson is an imposing 6-foot-5, 270-pounder who excelled at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Projected as an outside linebacker for 3-4 NFL teams, Johnson had a big week shedding blocks and pursuing the football.

"It's going great, man," Johnson said. "I'm practicing at a high level. There's a lot guys from Division I schools here, but football is football. The game never changes."

In California for the first time, the Baltimore native is soaking up the experience and the warm weather.

Johnson enrolled at Bowie State after playing at Dunbar High School. He chose Bowie after also considering the College of Charleston, Murray State and Maryland.

"I wasn't highly recruited," Johnson said. "I played basketball mostly. I didn't play football until my senior year. I came in at 225 pounds and I put on 50 pounds since I got there."

Johnson said he feels comfortable at outside linebacker, but played defensive end at the HCBU all-star game.

"They've had me playing outside linebacker this week," Johnson said. "At the HCBU game, I did great. I started at defensive end and had a sack with about three minutes left in the game."

"I'm ready to go either way. I can get up to 280 to 285 pounds ot play in a 4-3 or I can play outside linebacker at this weight."

Johnson has been working out at TEST in New Jersey and is represented by Joe Linta and Tom Kleine, the agents for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

"It's a blessing to be with those guys," Johnson said. "They're good guys and they've been doing this a long time."

Johnson said he loves to play the game with intensity.

"I'm a high-energy guy," Johnson said. "When I come out to practice, I keep the energy up. It's a blessing. It helps me read the defenses."

Johnson is projected currently as a priority free agent, but that can change as he goes through the draft process.

NFL teams tend to find a spot for hard hitters with versatility and athleticism.

At the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Johnson has been absorbing the words of former St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil and his staff of former NFL players like Isaac Bruce and Priest Holmes.

"All of them have talked to us about their experiences, the longevity of their careers," Johnson said. "Isaac Bruce gave a great speech the other night. It's a blessing for me to hear that coming from a small school. It shows you what's possible."

For more coverage of the NFL, go to

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Scout NFL Network Top Stories