The leader of Kansas City’s defense was voted by his peers around the league as the NFL’s 78th best player on NFL Network’s Top 100 series Wednesday night.
Johnson is the first Chiefs player selected to this year’s list, which has unveiled players rated No. 71-100 thus far, and is one of 39 players to crack the Top 100 that wasn’t part of the list last season.
At No. 78, Johnson was voted ahead of fellow Pro Bowl linebackers NaVorro Bowman (No. 85), London Fletcher (No. 87) and D’Qwell Jackson (No. 96).
“It’s been great,” Johnson said of the recognition he’s received since the conclusion of the 2011 season. “Being at the Chiefs for as long as I’ve been here, I’ve had some up and down seasons. But having Romeo Crennel come in here and turn this defense around – this 34 scheme – I’m loving it and having a lot of fun.”
Johnson set a franchise single-season tackle record en route to his first Pro Bowl selection last season and was voted by his teammates as the Chiefs Derrick Thomas MVP Award recipient. He also became the first Chiefs linebacker to earn first-team AP All-Pro honors since Thomas did so following the 1996 campaign.
Besides leading the Chiefs with 179 tackles (coaches tally), Johnson added 11 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, a pair of interceptions, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. His final statistics were impressive, but it was Johnson’s on-field leadership that stood out to teammates and caught the attention of veterans around the league.
The NFL Films-produced series continues on NFL Network next Wednesday at 7:00 PM (CST) with the unveiling of players voted No. 61-70.
Kansas City placed five players on last year’s inaugural Top 100 Players of 2011 list –
On NFL.com, fans can vote on each player ranking and whether it should be higher or lower. Voting results from viewers will be revealed starting halfway through the list on Wednesday, May 30th.
Viewers can also pose questions for NFL Network analysts and player guests by tweeting their questions to @nflnetwork. An on-air social media crawl will display selected questions and the analysts will answer questions in every episode.