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Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Rufus Johnson Jr. made one position switch from defensive end to outside linebacker soon after the New Orleans Saints drafted him in the sixth round last year. He now is working on another one. Johnson has worked some with third ...

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Old 06-13-2014, 12:47 PM   #1
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Rufus Johnson Jr. made one position switch from defensive end to outside linebacker soon after the New Orleans Saints drafted him in the sixth round last year. He now is working on another one.

Johnson has worked some with third and fourth units at defensive tackle through most of the OTA and minicamp practices over the last month. The Saints had their final minicamp practice Thursday (June 12).

"They're trying me out there, and I think it's a good position for me," Johnson said. "I'm actually making a lot of progress."

Johnson (6-foot-5, 272 pounds) said he will play defensive end in some packages but will also take snaps along the interior of the line, where he must be quicker with his moves against offensive guards and tackles.

"I've always played on the edge," Johnson said. "This is my first time actually being don in the three-technique, down with the bigger guys."

Johnson said the move inside is "a little bit of an adjustment, just from the fact that you don't have that much space."

The Saints put Johnson on the practice squad after the preseason last year and had him there for the entire regular season. He moved to the active roster during the week of the playoff game at Seattle in place of the injured Parys Haralston.

"Last year was more I would say a learning year, working on my technique," Johnson said. "I look at as just helping me learn. Basically helped me because I make better judgements now. Last year I was playing wild, trying to use athletic ability."

Johnson excelled in college as s 4-3 defensive end at NCAA Division II Tarleton State, where he had 33 tackles for losses in his two seasons there. The Saints moved him to outside linebacker after they drafted him to try taking advantage of his pass-rushing experience, and he played on the fourth-string units during preseason games.

Johnson said coaches talked with him last season about moving to the new position. He made the move for the start of rookie minicamp last month. The Saints hold their final OTA practices next week.

Rufus Johnson Jr. makes another position switch for New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com

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Old 06-13-2014, 01:14 PM   #2
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

I said in a thread a couple weeks ago, I thought he would be playing down on the line. He's got a good size/speed combo for a 3-4 end, not all that different from Cameron Jordan really.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:26 PM   #3
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

Man oh man. If we can teach him the positions then Johnson could line almost anywhere. I wonder how good his coverage skills are?
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:38 PM   #4
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

Saints reserve Rufus Johnson says he’s ready to answer the call

Rufus Johnson Jr. was in a hospital in early January, waiting for his daughter to be born, when he received the best news of his young NFL career.

After choosing him in the sixth round of the 2013 draft and placing him on the practice squad, the Saints called to say they were moving Johnson up to the 53-man roster mere days before a divisional playoff game at Seattle. There’d been an injury at Johnson’s position; the Saints required depth; and they trusted him to handle himself well if they needed him to play.

Ultimately, the Saints didn’t call on Johnson to appear in that season-ending defeat. But the promotion signified how much he’d grown during a year that had a difficult start. It had a much nicer ending, as Johnson received the Saints’ call and soon after welcomed his baby girl, Aubrey, on Jan. 6.

“She gives me life,” Johnson, 23, said of Aubrey. Of finally landing on the Saints’ roster, he said: “Effort never goes unnoticed.”

That’s a good thing in Johnson’s case. Effort was all he had for much of his rookie year.

After racking up 151/2 quarterback sacks and second-team Division II All-America honors in two seasons at Tarleton State as a hands-in-the-dirt defensive end, Johnson was asked to switch positions by the Saints. Move to outside linebacker and stand up, they told him.

Read more: Saints reserve Rufus Johnson says he

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Old 06-13-2014, 02:09 PM   #5
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
Man oh man. If we can teach him the positions then Johnson could line almost anywhere. I wonder how good his coverage skills are?
According to his college coach, his coverage skills are not very good.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:14 PM   #6
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

6-foot-5, 272 pounds
Sounds like he's gotten bigger.

If he can fill out a bit more and get up over that 280 mark, I can see DE/DT in his future.
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Old 06-13-2014, 05:43 PM   #7
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

DT in a 43 line up sure thing
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Old 06-13-2014, 05:45 PM   #8
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

Originally Posted by hagan714 View Post
DT in a 43 line up sure thing
Especially at the 3-tech on passing downs.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:29 PM   #9
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

Looks like we are trying to fit a round peg in a square hole...

I bet he gets cut and ends up on the PS again.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:48 PM   #10
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Re: Rufus Johnson - LB, DE and now DT?

Originally Posted by blackangold View Post
Looks like we are trying to fit a round peg in a square hole...

I bet he gets cut and ends up on the PS again.
Its certainly true we've been guilty of that in the past, but I think what we're doing here is different.

I think we've found a guy with NFL talent and we're trying to find the best spot for him. Thats why we've tried LB, DE and DT.

I'm happy that we're moving him around to see where he fits best instead of forcing the proverbial square peg into a round hole.

I think we're trying to discover which hole this talented player fits best into. (no crass comments please). Thats Ryan's MO and I'm quite OK with it.
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