The Steelers selected linebacker Buddy Johnson in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the 140th overall pick.
"I like Buddy, he is a good player," said inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky. "He is a good inside linebacker. I think it's appropriate the first defensive player we got in the 2021 draft was an inside linebacker. I am always excited. I love guys that play football and Buddy fits the bill.
"Buddy fits in great with the group. He likes football, plays downhill, good in pass coverage, zone drops. That is what we want. When he first gets here, the one thing he is going to do is be unselfish, listen to Devin (Bush) and Vince (Williams), the older guys, and play some special teams. We're really going to like him."
Johnson, who played at Texas A&M, will join fellow Aggie Dan Moore Jr. in the team's 2021 draft class.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Johnson. "If you look at the recent years, the Steelers have picked players from the same teams that played together. For me to go out and play with Dan Moore, that is my guy. Najee (Harris) from Alabama, we became close friends. For me to go out and put on a show with them, that is huge. It's all about having guys you trust. I am ready to go to work."
Johnson, who had 210 career tackles, 6.5 sacks, five pass defenses, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in 2020 and is ready for whatever role he is asked, from defense to special teams.
"I feel like I can do whatever my coach asks me to do, stopping the run, stopping the pass," said Johnson. "This league is changing for linebackers. You have to be able to run and move. I look forward to being about to get out there and showcase my talents.
"The way we worked at A&M, if you were a starter you had to play on special teams. It's so important. I look forward to playing special teams. It's part of football. I love special teams. I love the defensive side of special teams.
"I look forward to the challenge. I am going to go out and compete. I am blessed to be in this situation. I am going to make sure the Steelers are proud of their draft pick and give it my all."
Kimble High School
4th Round – 140th Overall
Butkus Award semifinalist ... started all 10 games ... served as a veteran leader on the SEC's top defense, finishing the season ranked ninth nationally ... led the team in tackles (86), tackles for loss (8.5) and forced fumbles (2), while his 4.0 sacks on the year was good for second among Aggies ... led the team in tackles in seven games, reaching double figures in the category on six occasions ... served as team captain in six games ... prior to the season, was named to the Nagurski and Butkus Award Watch Lists ... helped lead the defense with 11 tackles, reaching double figures in the category for the third time in his career in the season‐opening win over Vanderbilt ... led the defense for the second straight game with eight takedowns at Alabama ... forced a fumble with under four minutes remaining in the game that set up A&M's game‐winning drive to top No. 4 Florida ... led an A&M defense that tallied 6.0 sacks and limited the Bulldogs to negative rushing yards with 12 tackles, two breakups and another forced fumble ... matched his career high of 12 tackles, including two tackles‐for‐loss and one sack in the win over Arkansas ... helped the A&M defense limit the Gamecocks to 150 yards total offense in the win at South Carolina ... picked off his first career interception and returned it 15 yards for his second career defensive touchdown in the victory over LSU ... also added a sack against the Tigers ... made two tackles in the win at Tennessee, reaching 200 for his career ... led the defense with 10 tackles, 2.5 for loss including a sack, in the Orange Bowl victory over North Carolina.
Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers fourth-round pick Buddy Johnson
Started all 13 games … led the Aggie defense with 77 tackles and was third on the team with 9.5 tackles for loss … Led the Aggies with six tackles, including 1.5 for loss, in the season‐opening win over Texas State … Had five tackles, including 1.0 for a 6‐yard loss at No. 1 Clemson … Had a pair of tackles against Lamar … Was in on six tackles and added a QB hurry against Auburn … Made seven tackles, 2.5 for loss, including a sack for a 10‐yard loss, adding a hurry and a breakup in the win over Arkansas … Led the way with 11 tackles against Alabama … Led the defense with 10 tackles and recovered a fumble, returning it 62 yards for a touchdown to help the Aggies take down Ole Miss … Was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his play against the Rebels … Made six tackles in the in over Mississippi State … Had four tackles and QB hurry against UTSA … Led the way with six tackles, while also forcing a fumble against South Carolina … Had three tackles, 1.0 for loss, at Georgia … Was in on four tackles at LSU … Made six tackles in the Texas Bowl in over Oklahoma State … Earned the Defensive Playmaker and Defensive Strength Award at the annual team banquet.
Appeared in 12 games, and recorded 27 tackles, 5.0 for 16 yards lost and recovered a fumble … led the team with four tackles, including a tackle for loss against Northwestern State … compiled seven tackles and assisted on a tackle for a loss against Mississippi State … recorded three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and a half sack against Auburn … recovered his first fumble off a punt by Braden Mann in the third quarter that set up an Aggie touchdown against No. 7 LSU … compiled five tackles and assisted on a tackle for a loss against NC State.
Appeared in 12 games racking up 20 tackles with a sack and three QB hurries … closed out the regular season at LSU with nine tackles, a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss … recorded two QB hurries and two tackles against Arkansas … made two tackles and hurried the QB once at Florida … registered two tackles versus Auburn.
Coached by Henry Cofer at Dallas Kimball High School ... the versatile Johnson was Kimball's leading rusher and receiver in 2016 with 472 rushing yards and 446 receiving yards, in addition to 268 passing yards ... Earned first‐team all‐district honors at linebacker as a senior in 2016 after earning second‐team recognition at quarterback as a junior ... rated a three‐star recruit by PrepStar ... named to the PrepStar All‐Midlands Region Team ... four‐star recruit by Scout ... rated the No. 289 recruit nationally ... rated the nation's No. 19 outside linebacker ... ranked No. 4 OLB in Texas and the Midland Region ... four‐star prospect by Rivals ... rated the No. 28 outside linebacker in the nation ... No. 46 recruit in the state of Texas ... three‐star by ESPN ... rated the No. 45 athlete in the nation ... No. 81 in the state of Texas and No. 99 in the Midlands Region ... three‐star by 247Sports ... rated the No. 19 outside linebacker in the nation ... No. 49 player in the state of Texas.