The Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to sign undrafted free agent outside linebacker Tyree Johnson out of Texas A&M, the team announced Saturday after completion of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Steelers did not add an edge rusher at the draft, instead choosing to go with Johnson and outside linebacker T.D. Moultry out of Auburn on UDFA deals.
Johnson, 22, is coming off an AP All-SEC second team nod as a senior during the 2021 season. The edge rusher was tied for fifth in the SEC in sacks last season with 8.5 and registered 31 tackles with nine tackles for loss. That represented a big jump for Johnson, who only had 9.5 total sacks in his three previous seasons with the Aggies.
What really stands out is that he had three two-sack games against three ranked SEC teams in Alabama, South Carolina and Auburn last season. That particular performance against No. 1 Alabama helped hand them their first loss of the season 41-38.
The 6-foot-3, 248-pound Johnson played defensive end in a 4-3 scheme at Texas A&M, but the Steelers will use him at outside linebacker. He lined up outside the tackle on nearly all of his snaps in College Station, Texas.
The Steelers don’t need much help in the pass-rush as their sack total from last season (55) led the league, the fifth-consecutive season that they have led or tied for the league led in sacks. However the team is in need of help stopping the run as they gave up 2,483 total rushing yards last season, the worst mark in the league.
T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are entrenched as starters, with free agent addition Genard Avery and 2021 backup Derrek Tuszka currently slated as the team’s backups. Johnson and Moultry will battle with Tuszka for that depth role in 2022.
Johnson is the fourth Texas A&M grad the Steelers have added over the last two seasons, joining 2022 third-round pick defensive end DeMarvin Leal, 2021 fourth-round offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. and 2021 fourth-round inside linebacker Buddy Johnson.