Denver Broncos: Alexander Johnson will make NFL debut vs. Texans
Denver Broncos rookie linebacker Alexander Johnson will make his season debut on Sunday afternoon against the Houston Texans.
Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph revealed that starting linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) will be out for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, and rookie Alexander Johnson will take his place on the gameday roster.
Johnson was a big-time prospect coming out of Tennessee but was indicted on rape charges in 2015 along with Tennessee teammate Michael Williams. They were both acquitted of those charges on July 27, 2018, and about one month later, Johnson began the process of finding an NFL team.
The former first-team All-SEC linebacker chose the Denver Broncos over a number of other interested teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, and he’s been a gameday inactive every week so far this season.
The Broncos are almost overloaded at linebacker, but Johnson was kept on the active roster after signing a three-year contract with the team instead of the Broncos trying to put him on the practice squad because there has been so much competition for his services.
Against the Texans, Johnson is not likely to play many (if any) snaps on defense but he will play a ton of special teams.
What type of player is Johnson?
Johnson, like many of the defensive players on the Broncos’ roster that have been added over the course of the offseason, was known in college for his instinctive style of play. He’s always finding ways to get around the football.
What really sets him apart is his unique combination of size and speed. Johnson has the body type of a defensive end at 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, but the speed of a safety.
What that translates to is a lot of bone-crushing hits, and he provided Broncos fans with some highlight reel tackles on special teams in the preseason.
He will get his NFL feet wet on Sunday in what has been an absolutely incredible year for Denver Broncos rookies. The Broncos had 10 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and a somewhat limited free agent class because of the size of their roster, but they managed to find some of the best talent in the undrafted free agent pool as well as the NFL Draft itself.
Phillip Lindsay is the obvious crown jewel of the UDFA class, but Johnson was someone the team valued as much as any undrafted player in the history of the Broncos.
At least in the John Elway era, no undrafted player has ever been guaranteed as much money up front as Johnson, 26, who will make his highly anticipated debut in the orange and blue with a chip on his shoulder.