Nico Johnson is looking to boost his draft stock with a big performance in the 2013 Senior Bowl. Can he bump himself up to the first day of the draft?
Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Nico Johnson isn't the only player looking to boost his NFL Draft stock with a big performance at the 2013 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., but he has perhaps as much to gain from the experience as anyone. He ranks as the No. 6 middle linebacker in the draft according to SB Nation's Dan Kadar, and few mock drafts have him anywhere near the first round. He hopes to change that.
"I just want to showcase everything I know I'm good at and showcase some of the things that people have said I'm not good at that I think I'm good at," Johnson said.
"People don't think I'm good at pass coverage. But I've never really had a true chance to showcase that I can play on the passing downs. That's one I want to show I can do. A lot of people don't know that I pass rush a little bit. I never really had an opportunity to showcase that.
"I just want to showcase everything I have to offer."
Not only will Johnson look to take on defensive roles normally occupied by his other talented teammates, he hopes to impress friends and family. The Alabama native said that the Senior Bowl has always held a special place for players from the state.
"I never realized how big it was to the players and everybody else, but now that I'm having the opportunity to play in it myself, I realize how important it is for the players to go out and showcase and impress the people they need to impress so they can further their career," Johnson said.
Johnson was Alabama's third-leading tackler on the season, racking up 55 tackles. He had 163 over four seasons, including 16.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. He specializes in run defense, with some concerns about his quickness and ability to play in space.