Giants’ Leonard Williams: People are ‘sleeping on” Raymond Johnson
When the New York Giants lost defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson to the Minnesota Vikings this offseason, it was unclear who would eventually step in and fill that void.
The team brought back Austin Johnson, signed veteran Danny Shelton and then added Raymond Johnson III after he went undrafted in April.
For the time being, Austin Johnson appears to be the starter at nose tackle with Shelton serving as his primary backup. But don’t sleep on Raymond Johnson, says defensive lineman Leonard Williams. He can line up at any position across the line and the fact that he made the team’s 53-man roster speaks volumes about his talent.
“I told him that he’s one of the sneak guys that’s going to step up this year that people are probably sleeping on. He was an undrafted guy, so he has that big work ethic and he’s being a sponge out there right now trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible. I think he’s doing a good job so far,” Williams told reporters on Friday.
“I grab him to the side every once in a while. Me and him are both transitioning inside and outside, so I think that’s the reason why he comes to me a lot because me and him are the only ones in the D-line room that kind of play a little bit of outside linebacker and D-line. We’re a little bit of a hybrid position and I’ve been able to teach him a little bit.”
Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is also excited about Raymond Johnson’s potential, and he loves the added versatility.
“He’s explosive, he has some twitch in terms of quickness, in terms of the pass rush, he has grit and toughness about him whether he’s inside or outside. He has great demeanor,” Graham said in August. “He set himself up to have a good chance to compete, to see if he could play in this league and I’m excited about seeing what he could do.”
How much playing time Johnson receives in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos remains to be seen but with just five linemen currently on the roster, he’s going to get some sort of opportunity.