Cardinals hope to have found steal in OL Dorian Johnson

Apr 29, 2017, 4:46 PM

(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, FIle)...

(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, FIle)

(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, FIle)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Supposedly, a liver issue is what caused Dorian Johnson to fall to the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, pick No. 115 overall.

How much of a concern is it? Well, when asked what it was called, Johnson said he couldn’t remember.

“It’s like a really long word,” he said, with a laugh.

So, apparently, not really much of a concern.

A 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman who played both guard and tackle for Pitt, Johnson spent the majority of his time at left guard, but said he is comfortable anywhere along the line. Scouting reports reveal a solid all-around lineman who has room to improve, but a pretty high floor.

According to Johnson, his issue results in him having five times the normal amount of enzymes in his liver. He has had it his entire life, and it hasn’t proven to be a problem so far.

“It hasn’t affected me in my playing, whatsoever, but I guess a lot of teams thought it was a red flag and thought it was going to prohibit the way I play,” he said.

Johnson proclaimed himself to be completely healthy without issues, though he does treat himself with medication.

Otherwise, he is “absolutely not worried about it all.”

The Cardinals are comfortable with him.

“Some think Coach and I have some liver issues but we’re doing just fine,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim said, admitting it was a terrible joke. “He’s fine. He’s doing alright. It’s not been an issue in the past.

“I’ve talked to everybody at Pittsburgh, I’ve talked to our medical staff, I’ve talked to our team doctor; we don’t foresee it being an issue, particularly in a guy that could have been taken quite a bit higher and somebody we were very, very excited about.”

If not for his liver, Johnson likely would have been picked long before the Cardinals ultimately grabbed him. A four-year letterman at Pitt who started 42 of 51 games he played in and was a first-team All-American as a senior, Keim said they had him rated extremely high.

“Physical player, excellent technician, extremely smart,” he said. “Fortunate, in my opinion, to get him in round four.”

Perhaps the Cardinals’ risk, however big or slight it may be, will turn into their gain.

“I was expecting to go a lot earlier,” Johnson said. “But it is what it is. I’m just truly grateful to have this opportunity to play for the Cardinals, and everything happens for a reason.”

Johnson said he had a meeting and workout with Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin after Pitt’s pro day, and met with the organization at the Scouting Combine as well. His experience in a pro-style offense at Pitt should help his transition to the NFL, and though he finished his college career with 39 straight starts, Johnson understands a similar role may not be waiting for him just yet.

“Generally, coaches haven’t really told me what their plans for me, if they want me to come in and start right away or if I’m going to pushing for a spot,” he said. “As a player, my mindset is I should be pushing for starting time, regardless.

“I should be holding myself to that standard, that I’m going to come in, I’m going to work every day, get the playbook down, work on the technique, do whatever extra and I’m going to try to push to play as early as possible to help the team.”

Follow Adam Green on Twitter

Presented By
Western Governors University

Arizona Cardinals

Nick Bosa, 49ers...

Jesse Morrison

49ers ‘war daddy’ Nick Bosa to challenge Cardinals’ Paris Johnson

Paris Johnson Jr. has a huge task in Week 4 against San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa but he is excited to face the 49ers' star.

11 hours ago

Wide receiver Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for the snap during the second ha...

Arizona Sports

Injury report: Cardinals’ Marquise Brown questionable to play vs. 49ers

The Arizona Cardinals enter Week 4 with No. 1 receiver Hollywood Brown injured heading into a game against the San Francisco 49ers.

12 hours ago

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (Tyler Drake)...

Kevin Zimmerman

Cardinals GM ‘won’t hesitate’ to activate Kyler Murray, downplays USC-ASU scouting

Kyler Murray, Joshua Dobbs and Caleb Williams were all on the mind of Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort this past week.

14 hours ago

Defensive end Chandler Jones #55 of the Las Vegas Raiders talks to fans before a game against the N...

Arizona Sports

Former Cardinals LB Chandler Jones arrested in Las Vegas

Former Arizona Cardinals linebacker and current Las Vegas Raider Chandler Jones was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday.

15 hours ago

Joshua Dobbs #9 of the Arizona Cardinals on the field after defeating the Dallas Cowboys  at State ...

Dan Bickley

Have Arizona Cardinals found hidden treasure in QB Josh Dobbs?

The early results from Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Dobbs have been a revelation and is making the new regime look good.

1 day ago

Zaven Collins at practice...

Arizona Sports

Eye patches and blurred vision: Cardinals LB Zaven Collins describes ‘freak’ injury

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins explained how he suffered an injury that caused him to wear an eye patch for a few days.

1 day ago

Cardinals hope to have found steal in OL Dorian Johnson