The Kansas City Chiefs are allowed 30 visits with NFL prospects before the official draft begins. They're using one of those to work out outside linebacker Derrell Johnson, according to a source at East Carolina University. Brian Overton, the school's Director of Football Operations, posted via Twitter that four teams were taking visits with Johnson, a list that includes the Colts, Ravens, Cardinals and, yes, the Chiefs.
Johnson is a solid pass rushing prospect that the Chiefs could target a bit later in the draft. He had 79 tackles last season, including 14 for loss and 8 sacks. That total led Conference USA. He also had 9 hurries and 1 interception. As a junior, he had 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Measurements vary on Johnson, with a height ranging between 6'1 and 6'2 and his weight between 248 to 264 pounds.
Joel wrote this recently about drafting a pass rusher: "Bob Sutton's defense relies on pressure (as most good defenses do). The Chiefs defense was solid early on last season partially due to the way their pass rushers performed. They fell apart at times late last season with Houston and Hali each suffering injuries, which shows the impact of two good pass rushers would be missed. The Chiefs secondary has been a concern lately and one way to help the secondary is to force the quarterback to throw it quicker, which gives the secondary less ground to cover in a shorter amount of time."
He's projected as a 7th round pick / undrafted free agent by some.
What will draw teams like the Chiefs to work him out is his extensive starting experience in a 3-4 system as an outside linebacker and pass rusher. What hurts his stock is that several scouts seem to doubt his ability to translate to the pro level.
Despite his impressive play at the line of scrimmage, Johnson lacks the length and size to convince scouts that he's ready to make a swift transition from Conference USA to the pros as an every-down rush end, and he's probably best suited in a system in which he can put his "head-hunter" mentality to use on special teams and compete to put his nicely-developed repertoire of pass-rush skills to use in nickel packages.
Check out some highlights of Johnson here: