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Steelers All 90: ILB Buddy Johnson Needs to Show Growth to Earn Role



Steelers ILB Buddy Johnson

All 90 is a Pittsburgh Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Steelers 2021 offseason roster.

45 • Buddy Johnson, second-year inside linebacker, Texas A&M
6-foot-2, 240 pounds, 23 years old

Acquired: Drafted by the Steelers with the No. 140 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Last season: With the Steelers adding Joe Schobert mid-preseason to their inside linebacker rotation, Johnson lost out to Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen and Ulysees Gilbert III for backup and special teams playing time in 2021. Johnson played in just four games as a rookie and recorded a total of two tackles. He played only six snaps of defense and 59 on special teams.

College: Johnson had 86 tackles with Texas A&M in 2020 and racked up 2010 in his Aggies career. He also totaled 24.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacs in his time in College Station.

Johnson was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and served as a team captain in 2020.

Camp outlook: The Steelers moved on from Schobert but added Myles Jack this offseason, meaning that Johnson is once again poised to start the season sixth on the inside linebacker depth chart, unless he can pass one of the veterans ahead of him.

One of the keys to doing that will be establishing himself as a capable special teams player. After missing parts of the offseason in 2021, he was able to get a full spring in with the team toward that end in 2022.

With the team drafting Mark Robinson in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Johnson will have competition for his previous role, as well.

Future: Johnson’s rookie contract runs through the end of the 2024 season, after which, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

The rest of the 90:

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