The Steelers hosted athletic linebacker Kyron Johnson for a visit on Tuesday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston reported.
Johnson was a 2022 sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. A freak athlete, Johnson ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at Kansas’ pro day. He backed that up with a 39.5-inch vertical jump, showcasing he is both explosive and fast. However, Johnson is a versatile player who played off the edge and off-ball at inside linebacker during his career.
Playing at Kansas, Johnson is a special teamer first and foremost. Part of a litany of players the Steelers hosted on Tuesday, Johnson’s special teams aptitude allows him to stick out. His senior year at Kansas was his best, racking 6.5 sacks and 63 tackles. Over his career, he posted 12.5 sacks, 193 tackles, and 22.5 tackles for loss. Kansas embraced Johnson’s versatility but liked him more as an outside linebacker for most of his tenure.
When he joined the Eagles last year, Johnson played outside linebacker in that system. Johnson’s natural leverage and power stood out at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, where the Steelers saw him run through a few days. His fearlessness for the game makes him an apt special teamer that Pittsburgh would like to have. After the team’s performance on punt coverage Sunday, they could look to strengthen those positions with a lack of proper depth options at inside linebacker. Tariq Carpenter is the only inside linebacker on the practice squad, with David Perales as the only outside linebacker.
The team has one practice squad spot open after signing Jacob Copeland to the practice squad. But with Cam Heyward’s groin surgery and likely trip to injured reserve, Breiden Fehoko will likely join the active roster. If that happens, two spots on the practice squad would be open, potentially allowing a guy like Johnson to find a spot.
Philadelphia released Johnson from their practice squad last week, leading to this visit. During the preseason, Johnson played 33 total snaps, registering two pressures during those snaps as a pass rusher.