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FSU edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II turns heads at Senior Bowl

MOBILE – Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II had a great week of practice at the Senior Bowl.

Johnson was a handful for opposing tackles the first two days of practices in one-on-one pass-rush drills, showing off power, speed, a plethora of pass-rush moves, and one heck of a spin move. He translated that to team periods, where he was disruptive the first couple practices before sitting out Thursday with a minor ankle injury, though he plans to play in Saturday's game, per multiple reports.

The Detroit Lions got an up-close look at the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year this week as he was placed on the Lions-coached American Team. Johnson measured in at nearly 6-foot-5 and 259 pounds with 34 3/8-inch arms and nearly an 83-inch wing span. He registered 17.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks for the Seminoles this past season.

View photos from the third day of practice at the 2022 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Lions outside linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard said he and Johnson had a moment on the first day they got in the meeting room together where Sheppard had a little heart-to-heart with Johnson, explaining that he didn't care what Johnson learned in college. He was going to do it his way in his room.

"And you know what that kid said," Sheppard said of the exchange. "'Yes sir, coach, I got you.'

"And from that point forward he's come in, 'Man, that works.' I'm like, 'I know it. But listen, it ain't me, it's you.' What is that player doing with that coach? Is he responding to the coach? Is he taking what the coach is telling him and implementing it, or is he going and doing his own thing?"

Sheppard said it speaks volumes about Johnson that he's taken the coaching and translated it to the field.

The Lions have a need to add a pass rusher or two this offseason with Charles Harris scheduled to be a free agent and Romeo Okwara coming off a major Achilles injury. The Lions had the third fewest sacks in the NFL last season with 30. They have three picks in the top 34 in this year's draft.

Johnson is a versatile and interesting prospect that Sheppard and the Lions know a lot more about after working with him this week.

"The obvious is the obvious," Sheppard said. "He's a pretty damn good edge rusher and edge player."

View photos from the second day of practice at the 2022 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Johnson has a ton on confidence. He told his goal this week was to make a good impression, and prove he could play at a high level with the best of the best.

"I like to prove myself right," he said. "I'm not really too concerned about what others think about me. I'm out there. I'm the one with the helmet on. I'm the one that has to do the work. So as far as I'm concerned I'm going to make sure I'm living up to my standard and hopefully that's OK with everyone else."

It's certainly been a pretty high standard up to this point, and Johnson appears to have used this week to help improve his draft stock.

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