View Full Version : Newspaper articles about Derrick Johnson.

04-24-2005, 01:06 AM
Picks convey opposite emotions
Web Posted: 04/24/2005 12:00 AM CDT Mark Wangrin
Express-News Staff Writer WACO — Unlike former Texas teammate Cedric Benson, who teared up when the Chicago Bears took him No. 4, Derrick Johnson stayed dry-eyed Saturday as he watched the NFL Draft. Not that he didn't have a reason to cry.

Projected in some drafts as high as a No.8 pick, the ex-Longhorns linebacker waited almost 90 minutes as he slipped to Kansas City at No. 15. But Johnson admitted to no more nerves than the ones that prevented him from attacking a plate of his mother's brisket until after his selection and the subsequent media obligations were completed.
"You're not doing anything," he said, comparing the anxiety of waiting for his name to be called to waiting to start a big game. "You're not running around. You can't run off your nervousness."

Benson, meanwhile, didn't have much time to get nervous. Seconds after being picked by the Bears — whose past two picks of a running back with the No. 4 selection were Gale Sayers (1965) and Walter Payton (1975), both NFL Hall of Famers — Benson began crying. On ESPN radio, one analyst surmised he was reacting to the emotion of the moment. Another cynically suggested he had seen the Bears' offense.

Benson, who will battle Thomas Jones for the starting spot, copped to the former, citing the stress of having to prove himself to NFL teams.
"It's taken a toll on me," he said, "because I didn't know that's what I'd have to do."

Benson said he's happy to go to the Bears, who traditionally have relied on the running game, producing five players who have won NFL rushing championships.

"Fate has a way of working out," said Benson, who set rushing records at Midland High School and Texas. "All the teams I've played for have a tradition for running the ball."

Johnson's agent, Vann McElroy, said he was told Johnson would be tried first on the inside in the Chiefs' 4-3 scheme.

"My mind is racing now," Johnson said as he sat at a table in a meeting room at the Waco Independent School District offices. "I'm imagining how I'll look in a Chiefs' uniform. I'm like a little kid."

Johnson's drop was initiated, curiously, by the same pick that helped Benson. When Cleveland took Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards instead of Southern California wideout Mike Williams with the third pick, Chicago's decision was made. Williams, meanwhile, began to slide.

McElroy, who was a roommate of Detroit president Matt Millen with the Raiders, said Millen had indicated to him that the Lions would take Johnson but said Williams' availability skewed the plans.

" I left a message with Matt, yelled at him a little," McElroy said with a laugh.

Dallas, at No. 11, took defensive end DeMarcus Ware of Troy, and the other team projected as being interested in Johnson, the Houston Texans, traded down from No. 13 to 16, allowing Johnson to slip to the Chiefs.

The draft marks the eighth time at least two Longhorns have gone in the first round, and the fourth in the past five drafts. Johnson is the first Texas linebacker taken in the first round since Tommy Nobis was picked No. 1 overall by Atlanta in 1966.

Johnson goes to a team where he probably will be instantly compared to the former Chiefs Pro Bowler with whom he shares his first name.
"Derrick Thomas," he said of the late outside linebacker. "I'm fortunate to go over there, be a Chief and do some of the things he's done."


04-24-2005, 01:08 AM
Knight Ridder Newspapers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (KRT) - You had to be skeptical. Kansas City Chiefs president/CEO/general manager/cruise director/yeoman purser Carl Peterson does not exactly have the reputation as a guy who takes risks. You get the sense that Peterson carefully checks the expiration dates on milk cartons. This is a guy who should have a giant vest hanging right next to the field at Arrowhead Stadium ...
(Get it? That way the Chiefs would always play close to the vest. Hello? Is this thing on?)

So, sure, you had to be skeptical when Peterson said a few weeks ago that he was going to go out this offseason and improve the defense. Look, one year ago, after watching his Chiefs defense get torched the last few weeks of the season_including a home playoff loss that should be put in a time capsule so aliens will know how not to play defense_Peterson stood pat. He brought back the whole defense. It was like saying, "Let's stick with this New Coke thing," or "I don't care what anyone says, Beta videotapes are coming back."
Basically, Peterson left the Chiefs' hopes to new coordinator Gunther Cunningham and an awful lot of prayer.

No answered prayers there. The defense was even worse.
This time, Peterson said he would improve the defense_Peterson said he really wants to give his friend and coach Dick Vermeil one more run at the Super Bowl. Sure, you had to be skeptical. But this morning, you wake up in Kansas City, and man oh man, you have to be dreaming big football dreams. Carl Peterson and his group went out and got themselves a former Pro Bowl cornerback (Patrick Surtain), a former Pro Bowl safety (Sammy Knight), a linebacker who was the NFL defensive rookie of the year (Kendrell Bell) and a starting defensive end (Carlos Hall).

Saturday, with the 15th pick, the Chiefs drafted Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson, who I believe was the single best defensive player available in the draft.

As Buck O'Neil likes to say: You have to give it up.

This is just an astonishing haul of talent for one offseason. Now, of course, you never know how things will work out in the NFL, how players will mesh, how they will respond to a new team, how they will play in a different system and all that.

But man, as a fan, you could not ask for more. Getting Surtain last week for a second-round pick was a great move. Peterson always says he doesn't like trading draft choices_he prefers to waste them personally. But this was an absolute steal. Surtain is 28. He's one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He has an incredible 25 interceptions the last five years, which is more than any of the top corners in the game_Ty Law, Charles Woodson, Chris McAlister, you name it. Last year, as bad as Miami was, the team allowed the fewest passing yards in the AFC.

Then, Sammy Knight has 23 interceptions the last five years, and he forced nine fumbles, and he has scored four touchdowns in his career. Another playmaker. Kendrell Bell has been a fabulous player whenever healthy_he's 257 pounds, he flies around, he makes tackles, he's fast enough to get the quarterback, he can dominate games.
Carlos Hall had eight sacks when he was a rookie, he's big and fast, and Gunther Cunningham told me sometime last year that when he coached at Tennessee, Hall was a guy he could not stop watching.
So, it was already a pretty good offseason. Then it was Saturday, and the draft, and the ESPN broadcast brought its usual collection of chuckles. There was the annual joy of watching Chris Berman get lost in the middle of a question and then go on an Apollo 13-like mission to find his way back to some kind of point. There was Mel Kiper's hair. There were draft experts saying inane things like, "The only way to describe this guy is to say, `He's a football player.' " You know what? They're all football players. If someone drafted a gondolier, that would be a good story.

There were the Jets taking a kicker in the second round and getting booed. Some things never change. There were the Bengals taking Georgia defensive players in each of the first two rounds as they once again try to go all out to win the SEC East Division. There was the sad business of watching California quarterback Aaron Rodgers tumble in the draft. One week ago, he was supposed to be the No. 1 pick. He ended up as the 24th.

The ESPN people, never one to miss the human drama of athletic competition, kept cutting back to him, and he always had this perplexed look on his face, as if he was trying to figure out just how many millions of dollars he was losing per second.

But at some point, for Chiefs fans, the drama of the day was Derrick Johnson. There was a time when Johnson was considered a top-five pick, but for reasons known only to the geniuses who scout players, his stock started to drop. After Detroit passed on Johnson with the 10th pick, it seemed possible that he would actually fall to the Chiefs.
At that point, it was just a matter of waiting to see if a 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker who is built like a Buick and can move like a Mazda and won more awards last year than Jamie Foxx would actually make it down to the 15th pick. He did. The Chiefs, for reasons beyond me, waited almost the full 15 minutes before taking Johnson. I would have run up there with the card faster than some kid trying to get Derek Jeter's autograph.

Then, ESPN showed some Johnson highlights, and they were incredible_the guy blew up play after play, and sure, it's just April, sure, the Chiefs haven't even had a minicamp, much less training camp and preseason games and everything else. But the Royals are lousy, and the college basketball seasons were busts, and it's been a long time since there has been anything to get excited about.
What can you say? Derrick Johnson looks really good.
The defense looks really improved.

A longtime Chiefs fan called up to talk about the Super Bowl.
There's such a love fest going on that Carl Peterson might find flowers waiting for him at Arrowhead when he arrives Monday morning. OK, maybe not flowers. But he probably won't find too many angry letters.
© 2005, The Kansas City Star.

04-24-2005, 01:10 AM
Inside? Huh?

Tribal Warfare
04-24-2005, 01:12 AM
:drool: PBJ

This is so cool it's like a fantasy without the lollypop guild or the umpa loompas, but still kick ass.

04-24-2005, 01:12 AM

• LB, Texas, 6-2, 234
• First round, 15th overall
Picking 15th and in desperate need of defense, the Chiefs were able to select a guy who was college football's best defensive player last season. Johnson won the Nagurski Award, given to the nation's best defensive player, and Butkus Award, presented to the best linebacker. Johnson was the only defensive player among the 10 finalists for the Walter Camp Award, which recognizes the nation's best player. He had 375 tackles over the last three seasons, but Johnson is more than a linebacker who can track down the ball with his speed (4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash). Of his 130 tackles last season, 19 went for loss as new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson (the Chiefs' former defensive coordinator) used Johnson more aggressively off the edge than ever before. Johnson's 65 career tackles for loss are third in NCAA Division I-A history. And he excels when dropping back, too. His nine career interceptions are a UT record. An NFL.com analysis noted that Johnson is regarded as "one of the finest pass defenders to ever play linebacker in the collegiate ranks." What is perhaps most promising for the Chiefs, however, are two additional points: Johnson likes the big stage and creates turnovers. In 18 career games against Top 25 teams, Johnson had 175 tackles, 31 for loss, and 19 quarterback pressures. His nine forced fumbles (in 12 games) last season are an NCAA record. As a team, the Chiefs forced 12 fumbles in 16 games last season.

04-24-2005, 01:12 AM
Inside? Huh?


04-24-2005, 01:13 AM
There's such a love fest going on that Carl Peterson might find flowers waiting for him at Arrowhead when he arrives Monday morning. OK, maybe not flowers. But he probably won't find too many angry letters.

Heh. Nice jab, JoPo.

04-24-2005, 01:15 AM
Johnson's agent, Vann McElroy, said he was told Johnson would be tried first on the inside in the Chiefs' 4-3 scheme.

Inside? Huh?

04-24-2005, 01:17 AM
Inside? Huh?

I was gonna answer... yeah, Im posting inside. My computer is in my house. If I had wireless and a laptop I could be outside though.

04-24-2005, 01:20 AM
Holy shit, somebody on the planet said the same ting about Rodgers having the look on his face like he's thinking about the lost millions. Coindicene?, I think not!

04-24-2005, 01:21 AM
Good job, Peterson and Hunt

There is reason for concern. The last time I was this pleased with Chiefs general manager/president Carl Peterson was shortly after the Oakland Raiders hoodwinked the Chiefs into acquiring Chester McGlockton.

OK, so there will be no 16-0, Super Bowl proclamations emanating from this column space. But we will take a few moments to congratulate Peterson and owner Lamar Hunt on a marvelous offseason. There is reason for ample optimism.

Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson, despite his unfortunate association with Greg Robinson, was the absolute right draft pick at No. 15. The Butkus Award winner, two-time All-American wasn't supposed to last 15 picks on Saturday. He was supposed to go in the top 10.

He slipped because teams looked past his gaudy statistics, his tremendous size (6 feet 3, 243 pounds), uncanny athleticism, lightning speed (sub-4.7), crowded trophy case, big-play capability and instead concentrated on what he didn't show in college.

He never demonstrated a consistent willingness to take on blockers at the line of scrimmage. The knock on Johnson is that he's an undisciplined, finesse linebacker. He cherry picks and sidesteps, looking for highlight hits and turnovers.

To a degree, Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil acknowledged, Johnson was “coached that way” at Texas.

What that means is that Johnson was one of the nation's top high school recruits in 2001 and an unbelievable athlete when he hit the college campus. When he signed with Texas, I'm sure Mack Brown and his coaching staff looked at Johnson's 10.5 100-meter speed and 48-foot triple-jump range and assured Johnson that he would be completely turned loose in Texas' defense.

The Longhorns didn't sign Johnson so he could take on blockers. They signed him so he could make tackles, run sideline to sideline, create turnovers and give Herbstreit and Corso someone to hype. In college, that's a weak-side linebacker's job. The back-side linebacker is — by design — the most dangerous defender on the field.

Johnson probably didn't get a lot of coaching in college. “You just go make plays, baby,” was more than likely the extent of Johnson's college coaching. That's not a knock on Mack Brown or Greg Robinson. When a kid is that big of a freak, that much of a man among boys, you're best served by taking the restraints off of him.

“He's the most productive linebacker in the draft,” Peterson said.
Vermeil hinted that the Chiefs will try to reel in Johnson's freelance tendencies. The NFL is all about “gap control,” particularly now that everyone wants to be Bill Belichick and win with a team concept rather than riding a few superstars.

“I don't know if he'll be ready to line up and play in the league opener, but there'll be a day he'll line up and play a lot of football in Kansas City,” Vermeil said of Johnson. “First he's going to have to learn the scheme. You do so much more in pro football than you do in college. … It takes time to develop.”

Vermeil is right and wrong. What I love about Johnson is he brings an intangible to the Chiefs defense that all of Kansas City's offseason defensive acquisitions bring. Johnson, like Patrick Surtain, Kendrell Bell and Sammy Knight, is a playmaker with a proven resume. You don't have to guess whether Johnson can make big plays. You just have to turn on any game film.

“It's part of how he plays the game,” Vermeil said. “He makes big plays.”

Johnson can't make big plays standing on the sideline next to Vermeil.
“I hope he does line up for the opener,” Peterson said.

Johnson should. Vermeil indicated that Johnson will compete with Scott Fujita for a starting spot. The Chiefs don't play their outside linebackers strong and weak. They line them up right and left. Johnson could play either side.

I love the pick. I love all the additions to Kansas City's defense. Peterson aimed for proven performers who have shown an ability to make big plays, and that's exactly what he got, which is exactly what the Chiefs needed.

To reach Jason Whitlock, call (816) 234-4869 or send e-mail to jwhitlock@porkchopsandgravy.com (jwhitlock@porkchopsandgravy.com). For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com

04-24-2005, 01:22 AM
Holy shit, somebody on the planet said the same ting about Rodgers having the look on his face like he's thinking about the lost millions. Coindicene?, I think not!

Not at all. We have professional scribes who post here. We keep it interesting and thereby keep you out of trouble.

Tell your mother to make a donation. You can't put a price on keeping your kid off drugs.... can you?

04-24-2005, 01:24 AM
I will litterly laugh my ass off if DJ isn't starting. Knowing Vermiel he'll have fujita or some LB out there for the first play then have DJ come in.

04-24-2005, 01:24 AM
Not at all. We have professional scribes who post here. We keep it interesting and thereby keep you out of trouble.

Tell your mother to make a donation. You can't put a price on keeping your kid off drugs.... can you?

Who's keeping anybody off of drugs? As a matter of fact I smoked 2 fat bowls of KB 2 hours ago (slow night tonight).

04-24-2005, 01:25 AM
Who's keeping anybody off of drugs? As a matter of fact I smoked 2 fat bowls of KB 2 hours ago (slow night tonight).

Next time Im in Larryland, Ill send you a smoke... er...

04-24-2005, 01:26 AM
Who's keeping anybody off of drugs? As a matter of fact I smoked 2 fat bowls of KB 2 hours ago (slow night tonight).

That doesn't really count.

04-24-2005, 01:29 AM
That doesn't really count.

OK, I'll tell her to send a donation.

And, Ali, f'sho.

04-24-2005, 01:35 AM
15. Chiefs: LB Derrick Johnson, Texas.

Johnson falls farther than expected, and the guy who at one time was presumed to be a top-ten pick ends up falling into the Chiefs' lap.

We've also been told that the move means that linebacker Shawn Barber will be a June 1 cap casualty in K.C. Per a league source, his knee is in worse condition than previously reported.


04-24-2005, 01:43 AM
Peterson always says he doesn't like trading draft choices_he prefers to waste them personally.




04-24-2005, 01:56 AM
Greg Robinson helped steer Chiefs to Johnson


By ADAM TEICHER The Kansas City Star

Of all the research material on linebacker Derrick Johnson available to the Chiefs, the one they found the most reliable was a living, breathing person.

Johnson was coached his senior year at Texas by Greg Robinson, a friend of coach Dick Vermeil's and his defensive coordinator for three seasons. One of Robinson's statements stuck with Vermeil when the Chiefs made Johnson their first-round pick Saturday.

Robinson told Vermeil that Johnson was the best linebacking prospect he had ever coached. That covers not just Robinson's years in college, but also his 14 NFL seasons with the Jets, Broncos and Chiefs.

“He makes big plays, and he's been doing it ever since he stepped on the field at Texas,” Vermeil said. “He's played a lot of football at a great institution where they're always up there in the national rankings and against good competition, the Oklahomas and everybody else. But he makes plays in big games because he has the athletic skill to make them. We've got a lot of teaching to do, but that would be true of any linebacker we brought in.”

Robinson, who moved on last winter and is now the head coach at Syracuse, wouldn't answer questions about Johnson when contacted at his office Saturday. But Johnson credited Robinson with helping make him a first-round pick.

“He saw a lot of things on film,” Johnson said. “He saw some good things and some bad things, and the first thing he showed me were the bad things. He took 15 good plays and 15 bad plays from the last season and he just went over them with me.

“He saw a lot of flaws as far as moving too fast. It helped out sometimes, and sometimes it took me out of the play. He just slowed me down to make my percentage of getting to the ball almost every time much better this year. I've gotten into position a lot of times, and I didn't get fooled on play-action.”

One of the things the Chiefs liked about Johnson was his ability to create turnovers. Johnson intercepted nine passes in four seasons at Texas.

But his play-making ability really started to show last season when Johnson caused nine fumbles in 12 games.

“(It's just) being in the right place at the right time,” Johnson said. “Studying your film and getting a good jump on balls sometimes. Coach Greg Robinson always teaches us to strip the ball. For some reason, every time I try to stop a person, I'm thinking ‘ball.' I just made a way to get the ball out.”

For more on this story, see Sunday's Sports Daily in The Kansas City Star.

04-24-2005, 02:07 AM
Kansas City picks Johnson
Chiefs surprised, elated to grab Texas linebacker at No. 15

The Capital-Journal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs could not believe their good fortune. Just a day after spending a second-round draft pick on Patrick Surtain, the accomplished veteran cornerback they absolutely had to have, Kansas City saw the one linebacker they truly coveted fall into their arms with the 15th pick in Saturday's first round of the NFL Draft. Derrick Johnson, Texas' play-making winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation's best collegiate defender, was generally considered the best true linebacker in the draft. The Chiefs, desperately lacking in linebacking depth, were stunned to find him still on the board. "We didn't think he'd be available there at the 15th pick, and we were very lucky that he was," said Chiefs president Carl Peterson, who anticipated drafting Georgia safety-linebacker Thomas Davis after the three cornerbacks he wanted were taken in the top nine picks. But when Davis was selected by Carolina with the 14th pick, Kansas City's decision became a no-brainer. "It eliminated all debate," coach Dick Vermeil said. "With Davis, we were looking at a guy with a little more versatility in that he could play safety if he couldn't play linebacker. But (Johnson) is a true linebacker." With one starting outside linebacker (Shawn Barber) still recovering from major knee surgery and another (Scott Fujita) recovering from arthroscopic ankle surgery, the Chiefs jumped at the prospect of taking an athletic outside backer who was the Big 12's 2004 defensive player of the year after making 130 tackles with 13 stops behind the line and an NCAA record nine forced fumbles. "He was the most productive linebacker in the draft when you look at tackles, sacks and interceptions," Peterson said of Johnson's UT record 65 stops behind the line, 11 forced fumbles and nine career interceptions -- the most ever for a Longhorn linebacker. Added Vermeil: "He's been making big plays since he stepped on the field at Texas and he's made them against top competition like Oklahoma." The Chiefs will initially work Johnson on their defensive left side, currently Fujita's position. He has the athletic skills to cover tight ends from that position, Vermeil said. Kansas City also was encouraged by the recommendation of UT defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who was Vermeil's defensive coordinator from 2001-03. Robinson, who coached Pro Bowl linebackers Marvin Jones with the Jets and John Mobley with the Super Bowl champion Broncos, told Vermeil that Johnson was the best linebacker prospect he'd ever coached. The Chiefs, who traded their second-round pick to Miami for Surtain, could have picked up another first-day pick had they entertained trade-down offers from several other teams. "But we had pretty good information that the guy they wanted was Derrick Johnson, so we declined," Peterson said. With only one compensatory pick remaining in the third round, the Chiefs spent the rest of Saturday waiting before making the 99th pick of the third day. Kansas City has seven p icks remaining today in the final four rounds. After waiting through more than 80 picks in the first, second and third rounds, the Chiefs pulled a stunner in taking Tennessee punter Dustin Colquitt, the son of punter Craig Colquitt, who won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the 99th pick of the day, No. 36 in the third round. Colquitt averaged 40.8 yards on 56 punts for Tennessee last year. The Chiefs last spent a high pick on a punter in 1983, when Jim Arnold was taken in the fifth round. Kansas City has seven picks remaining today in the final four rounds.

04-24-2005, 05:53 AM
that was a great lucky/fortune pick DJ @15.

04-24-2005, 06:31 AM
Coindicene?, I think not!
Come one man, try some. Go on, you'll be cool like the rest of us.

Baby Lee
04-24-2005, 06:42 AM
Next time Im in Larryland, Ill send you a smoke... er...
Can't stand it anymore. Just gotta tell you I crack up every time I look at your avatar. One of the funniest skits on SNL in some time.

"Talkin' it up!
On The Barry Gibb Talk Show
Talkin' about issues
Talkin' about real important issues

Talkin' it up!
On The Barry Gibb Talk Show
Checkin' out politics
In this crazy, crazy tow-own!"

Have anything to add Robin?

No. . . No I don't.