KU's Steven Johnson shows well at NFL Combine


Kansas linebacker Steven Johnson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012.

Kansas linebacker Steven Johnson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. by Associated Press

After waiting all morning for his time to take the turf, Kansas University linebacker Steven Johnson, a senior from Media, Pa., who is participating in this year's NFL Combine in Indianapolis, finally got the chance to show his skills to the scouts early this afternoon.

Although Johnson underwhelmed in a couple of areas, he turned in solid performances in all of the agility tests and ran a respectable 40-yard dash time.

There seems to be some discrepancy (there always is) about the actual time. earlier reported it at 4.65 but has since changed that number to a 4.78. A couple of other sites continue to list the faster time as Johnson's best.

None of the times are official, we usually don't get those until a day or two later when they're released by a scout.

Here's a quick look at Johnson's day:

- 40-YARD DASH -
Johnson ran a solid 4.65-second 40-yard dash time on his first attempt. Good start, smooth run, strong finish.

In his second run, Johnson's time dipped to 4.73 seconds, which is not that far from the 4.65 but a far cry from the 4.5 he was hoping to run.

Still, Johnson's 4.65 went down as the 12th fastest 40 time among all linebackers in Indianapolis. Solid showing.

Johnson, 6-foot-2, 239 pounds, was what calls a "top performer" in the vertical jump, as well, as he turned in a leap of 36 inches, good for ninth best among all linebackers at the Combine.

Johnson had hoped to finish with 20 reps or higher in the bench press, which measures how many consecutive times the athletes can lift 225 pounds. He finished just shy of that mark, with a total of 16 reps. Not bad, but not great.

Johnson did not test real well in the broad jump, finishing with a top leap of 113 inches or 9 feet, 4+ inches.

The broad jump, for those who don't know, is basically a standing long jump, where the participant starts with two feet planted and jumps out as far as he can. He has to stick the landing for it to count.

Johnson's time of 7.32 seconds was the second fastest of all linebackers in attendance according to's official combine site.

This is not a surprise, as Johnson never was the biggest, fastest or strongest player but always found a way to use his natural instincts and ability to get to the ball. While some of the other numbers may have hurt him a little, this should help him tremendously.

Johnson continued to perform well in the agility tests with a 4.38-second time in the 20-yard shuttle drill. This was the third fastest time among all linebackers at this year's combine and continued to show that Johnson is good on his feet and uses his body control to his advantage.

Pretty much the same news here, as Johnson's time of 11.93 was the third fastest reported time among linebackers at this year's combine.

It should be noted that not all of the linebackers in attendance participated in all of the drills. Johnson did, though, and likely will do the same when he returns to Lawrence to participate in KU's pro day on March 14.

Look for his focus between now and then to be on dropping that 40 time and improving his bench press number. All of his other results most likely helped him in the eyes of the NFL scouts.

Kansas linebacker Steven Johnson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Monday, Feb. 27, 2012.

Kansas linebacker Steven Johnson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. by Associated Press


cool_beans 6 years, 3 months ago

he will be a solid special teams player

Jonathan Briles 6 years, 3 months ago

Yeah for his first couple of seasons while he develops into a solid starter.

Good luck Johnson you will always be a Jayhawk and one that I am proud represents us.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 3 months ago

Didn't you post the same comment about Harris?

Just saying...don't be hating on the Jayhawks.

KGphoto 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually is now listing a 4.78 40. Not too good. Although the website has been erratic at best, so hopefully they get his best time posted soon. Walter Football has been much less frustrating to scan the results on, and they still have him at 4.65.

His 16 reps put him at the very bottom. Almost an embarrassing amount below average for the LBs. Second worst to Sean Spence from Miami who did 12. Other than that, only 6 other LBs went under 20 and most of them did 19. I'm not a big proponent of bench results but Kuechly is taller and more slender and he put up 27. Johnson might have benefitted from a DNP for the bench press. I'm sure scouts would have looked at him and given him the benefit of the doubt because comparing him to the others visually, I would have put him in the middle of the pack. Maybe given him a guess of at least 22 or something.

The 36 inch vert. is definitely a plus but his 9'5" broad jump was below average.

I only got to see him run a couple of drills. He looked pretty good. Lost a shoe on his first cut during one and struggled through it, but caught the pass and finished strong. I was surprised how bad some of these LBs ball skills were. Lots of drops during that drill.

Matt Tait 6 years, 3 months ago

Good stuff.

I agree that he looked pretty good in the agility stuff and other drills...

Johnson's clearly not the cream of the crop, but I think he's worth taking a look at and deserving of a shot.

Best quote I heard on the broadcast might be describing Johnson perfectly:

“I don’t really care how many reps at 225 you do or how big and strong you think you are. The whole game today is movement skills. If you can open your hips and change direction, you can get on the field.” - Mike Mayock

I think Johnson is in good shape in that department. Not the biggest, fastest or strongest, but he moves well, knows how to play the game and gets to the ball....

KGphoto 6 years, 3 months ago

That's a great quote from Mayock. Certainly must mean Johnson at least upped his value a little today. I hadn't seen those cone times yet. Really impressive work from Steven there.

Matt do you have any idea how he did in his interviews or his or Wunderlick test? Does that info get released much later? Or does it even get released? Maybe just leaked.

Matt Tait 6 years, 3 months ago

I have not heard and I don't think it'll be released. I don't ever remember hearing the results of Meier, Stuckey and Briscoe's tests... I'll keep an ear open, though.

I put in a call to Steven, but I think he was flying back to Arizona, where he'll train for another 10 days or so before coming to Lawrence for pro day on March 14.

That should be fun.

I bet that young man is drained right now. All in all, though, a strong showing.

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 3 months ago

Apparently my definition of "showing well" and yours differs.

Matt Tait 6 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps. To each his own, though, right?

I'd say a former walk-on from KU who shows up at the Combine and goes Top 9 in one category and Top 12 in another and looks pretty good in all of the agility drills constitutes someone showing well.

He might not have torn it up but he didn't no-show either.

I'm excited to see what he does at KU's pro day in two weeks.

Stay tuned...

Matt Tait 6 years, 3 months ago

One more to report... His 7.32-second time in the three-cone drill was the second fastest of all linebackers at the combine this year.

I'll update the blog now with complete results, at least as they appear on

Ethan Berger 6 years, 3 months ago

Three cone to me is one of the most important if not the most important with defensive players. Its about agility, and being laterally quick. The 2nd fastest is big time.

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 3 months ago

Not everyone did the drills and you have a usual 6-10 juniors that are not there.

Tait, who runs pro day at ku when there is a complete turnover in staff?

Matt Tait 6 years, 3 months ago

All you can do is compete with the guys who are there, though, right?

As for your question, I'm not sure but it'll most likely be a combination of Scott Holsopple (new strength coach) and George Matsakis (director of football ops).

Any coach who wants to be out there should be able to show up, though. I remember Coach Torbush coming by last year and I think coach Gill may have been there for a short time, too... These guys are all out of eligibility so it's not like they'd risk "coaching" them.

Dan Pawlowski 6 years, 3 months ago

Matt , Great article and your follow up posts are awesome. Great Job.

MarkSmith_19 6 years, 3 months ago

I have something to do with it, don't be surprised if he gets picked up in the 4th..

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