He’s still not a household name but the odds seem high for Steven Johnson making the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster. Signed in late March, he’s part of a Kevin Colbert free agent class that almost never fails to make the roster. Only one player – Kevan Barlow – hasn’t made the opening day roster under Colbert.
Assuming Johnson doesn’t become the second, Pittsburgh is getting a self-proclaimed physical player.
“I am a physical guy,” Johnson told Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley. “That is what I have been known as. I have always been a hitter. I have always been known as one of the hardest hitting guys on the team.”
He’s one of many in that room sporting that attitude. Vince Williams is one of the nastiest demeanor on the team, Gio Bernard can attest to how big a hitter Ryan Shazier is, and Lawrence Timmons still flashes his muscle. While those three will do their thing on defense, Johnson figures to be one of the Steelers’ top special teamers; a four phase player who can balance the losses of Terence Garvin and Sean Spence. Will Johnson wasn’t a linebacker but filled a similar role to those two.
“I have also been one of the top special teams players in the league the last few years and you are going to get that out of me.”
Johnson played 310 special teams snaps last season, tied for 22nd of all linebackers and more than anyone on the Steelers. As we outlined in our scouting report, he played on the front line of kick returns, on punt returns, L4 on kick coverage, and the left tackle on punt coverage.
Though it would take a lot for him to see time on defense, he does have a bit of a background there. He started seven games for the Denver Broncos in 2014, picking up 39 tackles and a half sack. Along the inside, his main competition will be seventh round rookie Tyler Matakevich.