Former Pitt linebacker Kylan Johnson was not selected in the 2020 NFL draft, but he will get a shot at the NFL, as he was signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent on Sunday. The move brings Johnson back to the Sunshine State, where he spent four years of his college career with Florida in the SEC.
Johnson joined the Panthers as a graduate transfer in 2019 after starting his college career in Gainesville. During his three active seasons with the Gators, Johnson recorded 77 tackles, including one sack and five tackles for losses, as well as two pass breakups and a fumble recovery over a span of 25 games.
Johnson went on to become a key member of an elite Panthers defense that ranked 15th in the nation in total defense, allowing just 312.9 yards per game, and second in the nation in sacks, with a total of 51 in 2019. He had 55 tackles, including seven sacks and 11 tackles for losses, as well as three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
In Miami, Johnson will join an organization that is in the process of rebuilding around young talent. The move was brought on by a long period of subpar play, as the Dolphins have posted winning records just three times since 2005. Their string of poor results followed the team’s dismissal of Dave Wannstedt as head coach in 2004. Wannstedt would go on to coach Pitt from 2005 to 2010.
Last season, the Dolphins signed former Pitt defensive end Dewayne Hendrix as an undrafted free agent as well. However, despite a solid showing in the preseason that included two sacks in a single game, Hendrix was eventually cut and bounced around the league before heading to the XFL and later signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Given the results that prospects like Hendrix have seen, Johnson will likely have to distinguish himself in camp and put on a memorable performance in the preseason to earn himself a roster spot.