So when he singles out a couple rookies for praise, it means something.
“92 and 73 ... they’re very explosive,” Johnson said Tuesday of rookies P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst. “Not big guys. When you walk up on them, they wouldn’t scare you at all. When you see them on film, you say, ‘Wow!’ I need these guys in my lineup. I need them rotating in. I need them putting pressure on the quarterback.”
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The Raiders took the 6-foot-1 Hall in the second round (57th overall) and the 6-2 Hurst in the fifth round (140th) in the April draft.
Heading into Friday’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Hall and Hurst are unofficially listed second on the depth chart behind Mario Edwards Jr. and Justin Ellis, respectively, at defensive tackle. Hurst recorded a sack in a 19-15 preseason loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday.
“They’re very disruptive,” Johnson said. “To be that young and be disruptive this early, that’s a good sign.”
Hall was never invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February, but the Raiders liked what they saw and Johnson is glad the team took the former Sam Houston State standout.
“P.J. has handled it well,” Johnson said. “He’s going to have a chip on his shoulder, which is good. As long as you use it the right way and he stays humbled ... he’s been a guy that’s been looked over. The Raiders seen something in him to pick him up. He’s proved them right.”
Johnson also is impressed with second-year linebacker Marquel Lee who played in 13 games last season and finished with 25 tackles.
“He’s very athletic,” Johnson said. “We have plenty of talks about what he sees on the field. ... He’s a guy who is very smart and he’s got a bright future ahead of him. I’m excited to watch him every time we are out there.”