Falcons Q&A: Meet third round pick Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson (Associated Press)

Mike Johnson (Associated Press)

NAME: MIKE JOHNSON,  Age 23

POSITION: Guard

SCHOOL: Alabama (Pensacola, Fla. Pine Forest High)

HT, WT: 6-foot-6, 318-pounds

DRAFTED: Third round, (98 overall)

Q: Were you surprised to be drafted by the Falcons?

A: “I knew that they were interested. I had already visited the complex and had a good session with coach (Paul) Boudreau and coach (Paul) Dunn. But it was really a dream situation, one I didn’t think would come true. When it did, I couldn’t have been happier.”

Q: Describe your style of play?

A: “I play with a good pad level. I’m able to get a lot of movement up front. I make a lot of holes and I feel like I’m versatile. I can play center, guard or tackle, where ever they want me to play. I’m willing to work hard and do that. I’m just going to get in there and bust my butt. It’s one of those things where I feel blessed right now because I’m so happy. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and that’s one thing that I am, a harder worker. This is a match made in heaven.”

Q: How was it leading the way for the Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram last season and winning the national championship?

A: “It was such a great experience. I’ve just thought about it in the last few days. I’ve had a dream year. You couldn’t have asked for a better year and this just continues the dream. The Falcons are just such a great organization. It was the team that I wanted to play for all along. I’m just so excited.”

Q: Have you looked at the situation that you’ll be coming into here?

A: “They have a good offensive line in Atlanta. They have some quality coaches. It’s definitely a good veteran group and they are obviously some good quality guys. I’m just going to come in, try to fit in with them. . .I’m just trying to vie for a spot on that offensive line.”

Q: How much center have played?

A: “I’ve never actually played it in a game, but these last few months I have been working there a lot. I’ve been working out with Dan LeFevour and Sam Bradford and they’ve been wanting to take snaps from a center and I’ve been wanting to snap. So it was kind of a good matchup. It’s something that I can continue to work on. If they want me to do it full-time, that’s what I will do.”

Mike Johnson is probably not happy that he won't be playing in front of Alabama's cheer squad, but he's still pretty excited about being drafted by the Falcons.

Mike Johnson is probably not happy that he won't be playing in front of Alabama's cheer squad, but he's still pretty excited about being drafted by the Falcons.

Q: The first three Falcons picks have all graduated. How does that intelligence translate onto the field?

A: “It’s huge. I think intelligence is one of things that Coach Boudreau and Coach Dunn were looking for in our meetings. It’s a big thing, especially for offensive linemen. You’ve got to be able to iron things out up front, make all of the calls and make sure that everybody is on the same page. Anytime that you can graduate from college, especially from a good university it’s always a big thing. I’m just glad to have this opportunity and I want to get in there and start helping out.”

Q: I saw where you had a 4.0 coming out of high school, how did you do on the Wonderlic?

A: “I can’t get a straight answer out of anybody on that. I felt like I did pretty good. Every time that I ask somebody, they are like “all, I don’t have it in front of me.’ If y’all find out, let me know.”

52 comments Add your comment

Brian Hunt

April 27th, 2010
7:26 am

Welcome to the ATL Mr. Johnson. May your career be long and productive.

Hogmolly

April 27th, 2010
7:58 am

sounds like a keeper.

Carl

April 27th, 2010
8:01 am

Wooo Hooo!!!! When do OTAs begin!?!?!? GO FALCONS!!!

[...] D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with Atlanta Falcons third-round guard Mike Johnson. [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Falcons Q&A: Meet third round pick Mike Johnson http://bit.ly/aFu6in [...]

SC Smith

April 27th, 2010
8:35 am

Not a sexy draft but I think a solid one. Spoon & Johnson could prob. start now.

alanfalcon

April 27th, 2010
8:43 am

The first three drafts are impressive, I look forward to the othe interviews.

SirReal

April 27th, 2010
9:02 am

Just give us some pancake blocks sir…hopefully you can take Sam Baker’s LT spot…

bamawatcher

April 27th, 2010
9:40 am

Johnson is a player and a great drive blocker. Look for him in the rotation by mid season. Ten year player and great kid.

James

April 27th, 2010
10:18 am

Its refreshing that our organization places such a high premium on intelligent, high character athletes in our drafts. This is clearly a departure from past tendancies with the top brass for the Falcons. I think its going to pay huge dividends down the road. Overall, very pleased with the 2010 draft selections.

Row 3

April 27th, 2010
10:27 am

Johnson is a Guard/Tackle, Hawley is a Center/Guard. This will provide much needed depth on the OL. This should help us greatly if we sustain injurys.

BigTimeTECHFan

April 27th, 2010
10:35 am

What’s the cheerleader picture have to do with anything? that was kind of random, but good read.

Good interview, Bama’s line was best in the country, I’m surpised none of their OL was rated higher. I think it’s good pick and along with the dude from Kentucky.

BigTimeTECHFan

April 27th, 2010
10:36 am

intelligent linemen – think Mike Kenn

Marcus

April 27th, 2010
10:52 am

Good luck and better Falcons career , Mr. Johnson.
DOL, the ‘bama cheer squad is missing something ……. ahhhh, diversity. :) Feel free to repost the photos of the Falcons cheerleaders …. or at least Tony Gonzalez and family.

waynester

April 27th, 2010
11:35 am

Seems to me like we’re reserving judgement on a couple of key positions ’til next year–namely DE and LT–vital positions on either side of the ball. Having ignored (it would appear) both positions in the draft and FA leads me to believe that TD/Smitty are giving their draftees (Baker Biermann & Sidbury) one last season to grow into those jobs. If not, I look for major moves on those 2 line positions in 2011–either signing a veteran FA to a long-term deal or going full speed ahead for one of the best in next years draft. There appears to be a lot of talent at DE and OT coming out next year, so of the two approaches , my guess is that we will once again, continue to build through the draft. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see our next big FA acquisition to be at DE/LT giving us a chance to move Baker to the Right Tackle slot, and settling Abraham’s replacement…..

Too tough 44

April 27th, 2010
11:36 am

Welcome to the ATL. ! HOpe you retire as one of the greatest Falcons offensive lineman in history!

waynester

April 27th, 2010
11:37 am

marcus
I see plenty of diversity in that photo–blondes, brunettes, redheads–OH, you meant…nevermind….

willdave

April 27th, 2010
11:47 am

Big kid. Smart. Has a great attitude. Played college ball at Alabama. Was on their national championship team. Seems happy to be a Falcon now. Mike Johnson is another solid pick for the home team.

By the way, I’d like the photo of the Bama cheer squad much better if the guys had been left out of it.

Sly Ty

April 27th, 2010
11:58 am

Great pick again by TD. Fans don’t realize that the biggest need of the team, because of expering contracts, is the interior offensive line. This guy was a huge part of that running back winning the Heisman Trophy. Also, those expering contracts include Harvey Dahl, Justin Blalock, Tyson Clabo, and Quinn Ojinnaka. Also, we will be fortunate if Todd McClure can make it through the season. He is as old as I am, and that is Mid 30s.

GregKennesaw

April 27th, 2010
12:12 pm

Blaylock should be worried. Trey Lewis should be as well

Pete

April 27th, 2010
12:42 pm

Quality individual…………and player.

Pure quality.

North FLA Falcon

April 27th, 2010
12:50 pm

Great pic. It would have been more appropriate to show Johnson and the rest of the ‘Tide blockers *pushing the Gators backwards* as they thoroughly manhandled the Pouncey twins, Timmy T and cos. He will be a great addition to the Falcons!

NFL junkie

April 27th, 2010
1:05 pm

Very good pick. All American on a National Championship team! Much needed addition! Good job in an otherwise mediocre draft.

waynester

April 27th, 2010
1:16 pm

willdave
Hey, you’re right–there were guys in that picture–totally missed them the first few times I looked at the pic….

Mike is Back

April 27th, 2010
1:31 pm

Another great pick by TD…can’t wait to hear from the rest of draftees.

waynester

April 27th, 2010
1:40 pm

Earlier I was rambling on about what I was expecting us to do at LT and DE. Having looked at some more of the 2011 draft class it looks like next year’s DE class will be MUCH deeper than 2010 and the OT’s will be MUCH weaker. That’s got me thinking that we might be looking at a bigtime LT in free agency. Baker is going to be given every chance to seize the job, but it’s got to be a priority to keep Ryan untouched going forward. I counted it almost 7to2 ratio of 1st rd DEs to 1st rd OT’s next draft–and one of the OT’s was projected as a RT/G only…. just thinkin’…..

Singletary

April 27th, 2010
1:55 pm

Be our ‘Bama Slamma, Big Guy!

Freddie: G

April 27th, 2010
2:25 pm

This was not a flashy draft,the falcons were drafting needs which makes sense. The greatest need after we singed Dunta robinson was for an Outside Linebacker. TD could not have selected the Defensive End over the Outside Linebacker unless that was an unbelievable end and the outside linebacker on their board would still be on the board. Apart from Babs and the unproven Jerry and the effort of Johnson this past year additions were needed at D. tackle to improve the rotation? I hear Buck Belue criticizing the draft yesterday, and wonder why people still listen to such an a**. He became famous handing off to Herschell and has been riding on that ever since. TD could not have drafted Norwood out of SC when he needed an outside linebacker to cover TE and RB. Let us give the falcons GM, Scouts and coaches the benefit they have earned it.

Jeff

April 27th, 2010
2:33 pm

Marcus, what happened? You did not make the squad. Esta loca! Diversity!? Its Alabama tonto!

Steve

April 27th, 2010
3:19 pm

This is the exact kind of player that you want out of College. One that will not take this for granted and will work hard.

waynester

April 27th, 2010
3:40 pm

DLed
Since Dimitroff came from a small college in Canada, I was wondering if any kids from Canada made it in the draft or as FAs? Does TD look as closely at the schools up north or the CFL for talent? Just thought maybe he had an “IN” with some of the schools up there……

Smyrna Jacket

April 27th, 2010
4:13 pm

Babineaux to DE.
Change the uniforms.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 27th, 2010
4:39 pm

Carl — Minicamp is May 7,8,9. OTA — May 25th.

BigTimeTECHFan — We like to talk football here. Also, we like CHEERLEADERS!!!!

Waynester — TD has shunned his up north roots. Canada is clearly too close to Big Ten country. TD picks 26, Picks from Big Ten 0!!! Will look that up. I didn’t come across any Canada recruits this year. Their best athletes are heavy into chasing that puck and swinging those sticks around.

SMYRNA JACKET — WAS JUST THINKING IN THE CAR ABOUT THIS. SMITTY HAS GOT SOMETHING UP HIS SLEEVE. ARE THEY ABOUT TO GO 3-4 TO GET THE BEST PLAYERS ON THE FIELD??? This would be that lineup Babs at LDE Peria/Corey at NT Abe RDE
Spoon at OLB, Mike Pete and Curtis at ILB and Nicholast at OLB. Looks good on paper but DE’s would be a little smallish. Oh well, never mind.

Bama &Bird Fan

April 27th, 2010
4:42 pm

Having been a fan for both teams, all I can say is Mr. Johnson is a SOLID PICK. He played most games in his career and he never makes mistakes.
I do believe he is the only bama offensive lineman that graduated and they were all solid upfront, ask Ingram and Richardson.

waynester

April 27th, 2010
5:24 pm

DLed
If you get an opportunity will you ask specifically about OT Tony Washington he’s being shunned for a sexual thing while dope-heads and drunks are plentiful in the league–even a few violent felons. Why the seemingly “special” treatment for this particular player, whom reports have indicated is a changed person?Just smell a story….

Lonnie Marshall

April 27th, 2010
5:34 pm

Mike is a quality player and an even better person. Great student and one of the leaders of the national championship team. He was coached in a true pro style offense at Alabama by Joe Pendry a long time NFL guy. It will be a seamless transition mentally. He will be a great pro guard and can play tackle or center if needed. However, his best position is clearly guard. He is a brawler and will knock your shorts off. He is also an excellent pass blocker from the guard position. At tackle he is fine as a run blocker but will struggle with speed rushers. Leave him at guard and you have a 10-12 year guy who will make 3 or 4 Pro Bowls. You have drafted a winner Falcons.

Paddy

April 27th, 2010
5:43 pm

I got my wish with this draft. Got us some big nastys for the lines. I am happy.

Marcus…diversity? Thats a Alabama team photo not Dartmouth!

falcon

April 27th, 2010
5:47 pm

Looking forward to seeing these youngsters coming in and contributing this year. This Johnson kid looks like a very solid pick to me. Looks like TD put together another good one. I hope they all stay healthy this year. Glad to have Jerry and Douglas back out there.

collegeballfan

April 27th, 2010
7:08 pm

Football is a game of blocking and tackling. The Falsons just drafted some excellent blockers and tacklers. Damn good draft!

Jeff

April 27th, 2010
7:49 pm

I’m a Falcons season ticket hold and an Alabama fan. I have followed Mike’s career from high school recruitment through his senior season. The Falcons have picked up a winner here. A hard working, talented leader, with the ability to play any spot on the line. Can’t wait to see him in action.

Origional Fan

April 27th, 2010
8:10 pm

Great pick. Does remind me of Mike Kenn. And, with that beard, Hawley evokes a Van Note impression…lol. DOL, one ufa I really feel heat from. Need more info on Ryan Wolfe. Solid draft.

Big Ray

April 27th, 2010
8:24 pm

Mike Johnson is a great pick, and I don’t think we appreciate just how good it is just yet. As long as he can stay healthy, he’s going to be a force, and I forsee a starter’s spot before long. 6′6″ and 318, and he has yet to see the inside of an NFL training facility.

D. Ledbetter ,

Are you serious about the 3-4? That’s a very, very interesting idea. Consider also that if Sidbury is coming along, that’s a way to get him on the field as well. Hmmmm….

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 27th, 2010
9:11 pm

good interview, sounds like we’ll be seeing a lot of him in the future

3-4! 3-4! 3-4!

April 27th, 2010
9:48 pm

Like the 3-4 idea a lot, but I would probably shift Spoon inside and put Sid and Bierman on the OLBs and have them be agressive. We could have Pete and Weatherspoon splitting time, and Nichols switching in with an OLB on some running downs. Sounds intriguing.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 27th, 2010
11:24 pm

Waynester — I’ll check that out. Over time, I’ve found that if the guy can play, somebody will give him a shot. Perhaps, that’s changing.

Big Ray
— the ends would be too small. Actually, you end would have to be Jamaal and Chauncey, the sturdier guys in that 3-4. Just might be a BIWRA — Bad Idea While Riding Around the ATL.

O. Fan – Wolfe is intriguing. Trying to find out why he wasn’t drafted.

Trying to get the agents to send me some highlight stuff. I think they’ve got better stuff than YouTube action. I had Brian Price’s but that doesn’t help us much so the Falcons took Corey Peters.

MH

April 27th, 2010
11:25 pm

DLed,
Prior to this draft I had hoped the Falcons would make a switch to the 3-4, but neither Spoon nor Peters are 3-4 guys. I think they both have flexibility to play in a 3-4 (something the Falcons seem to put alot of stock in), but are MUCH better suited for the 4-3. Babs IMO is a stud 3-4 DE waiting to happen (and Anderson is better suited for that scheme too). The Beer-man would make a stud 3-4 OLB. Jerry would even be a good fit at 3-4 DE, although Sidbury and Abe are definitely not good fits. A thumper MLB and a NT would have been the way to go if 3-4 was in the cards, not a WLB & 1-gap DT.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 27th, 2010
11:30 pm

MH – Some teams wanted Spoon as an ILB in the 3-4. Mike Pete has played MLB. My thinking was he could slide back inside. Yeah, I’ve figured out that the ends don’t fit. Babes would be nice playing off the OLB. The fire zone blitz on that side would be pretty good with Nicholas or Spoon.

MH

April 27th, 2010
11:52 pm

DLed,
I’d agree that Spoon can play ILB and you are right, reports were that some teams had him on their MLB board. Personally, I think his biggest strenght (beyond being a vocal leader) is his pass coverage ability. To me, that’s why he’s a better fit for the 4-3 WLB than a 3-4 MLB. I don’t think he’s as stout at the point of attack as some of the other 3-4 MLB’s. I hope I’m wrong of course. ;)

Big Ray

April 28th, 2010
5:30 am

3-4 can be used situationally, against the right teams. Otherwise, I see why our base defense is the 4-3..

DinoRight

April 28th, 2010
7:50 am

Roll Tide & Go Falcons!

Falcon 228

April 28th, 2010
8:57 am

This person fits the pattern of the type of player Dimitroff and Smith is using draft picks on. However, this person seems to be off the charts. Why wasn’t he rated higher on the Mock Drafts and the rest of the pundits that we listen to during the draft these days? On a blog I wrote a couple of days ago I caught the panel on the NFL network looking through their notes trying to get info on him just before a commercial break. Believe it or not, Cory Chavous found him first in his notes and quickly commented about his versatility just before the break. If he is true to his word, he should be around awhile barring any serious injuries. Its possible Johnson could be the smartest pick of the draft. Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury are starting to become solid players at their positions. Both were undersized when we drafted them, Biermann in ‘08 and Sidbury in ‘09, and have put on the size needed. Biermann started making an impression in late season ‘08 and Sidbury in the final two games of last season. If their progression continues, they both could become starters this season. Let us all hope so.

[...] D. Orlando Ledbetters’ Q & A with Johnson. [...]