The Eagles traded the 188th and 237th picks to the Detroit Lions, moving up to No. 181 overall to select Kansas strongside linebacker Kyron Johnson. Calling his selection an exciting moment, the versatile athlete said, "I'm willing to play wherever the coaches are willing to put me," adding that he was comfortable playing anywhere: "I'm just ready to play."
Here are five things you need to know about the newest Eagle.
1. A four-year starter, the 6-foot, 231-pound Johnson played for four head coaches at Kansas, spending time at safety, nickel, linebacker, and defensive end. Returning for a fifth season in 2021, the 23-year-old was used primarily as a defensive end, and led the team with 8.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. Calling that season "another year for me to step up and put my foot down and showcase what I have," the Second-Team All-Big 12 selection played 655 snaps without committing a single penalty.
2. A three-time team captain, Johnson served as a vocal leader and mentor to younger teammates. Kansas Defensive Line Coach Kwahn Drake said the team jokingly referred to him as "Uncle Pastor" because "he's like the uncle of the group, kind of been here a little while, very wise," and "he prays like a pastor or a deacon in a church, really bringing everyone together."
3. From Arlington, Texas, Johnson started his career at Lamar High School as a running back and safety before making the move to linebacker as a junior, posting a team-high 125 tackles and 11.0 sacks in his final season. A three-star prospect, he received his first offer from Kansas. After being hosted by current Bears running back Khalil Herbert on his official visit, he committed to the Jayhawks.
4. A two-sport athlete for most of his life, Johnson grew up running track. A varsity letterman as a freshman, he was coached by his uncle, Rod Franklin, competing in the 100- and 200-meters, 4x100 and 4x200-meter relays, and long jump.
5. Athleticism runs in the family, as Johnson's father Broderic was a three-sport athlete in high school before playing running back at Cisco Junior College. Meanwhile, his brother Kayron ran track at Ottawa University.
"He is an explosive pass rusher. He gets off the ball exceptionally well. He's got edge speed. He's a natural-leverage guy, can convert speed to power. He can win three ways. He's excellent on stunts. He plays with energy. He's been an outstanding special teams player, 17 career special teams tackles. He shows up there. A lot of positives with him and at the Senior Bowl, he took on some of the top tackles and put them on their back with his pass-rush ability, so you see that. It was just a great opportunity to get a guy who can add to the rush game." – Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl