Photo: NCAT Athletics

EAST GREENSBORO — With the 225th overall pick, the Buffalo Bills made North Carolina A&T defensive end Darryl Johnson, Jr. their 11th pick of the seventh round during the final day of the NFL Draft Saturday.

Johnson’s selection makes it the third straight year an N.C. A&T Aggie has been selected in the NFL Draft as Johnson joins running back Tarik Cohen who went to the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 2017 draft and offensive tackle Brandon Parker who was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2018 draft.

“He is one of those guys who is willing to put in the extra time and give the extra effort and do the little things to be special,” said N.C. A&T coach Sam Washington. “That is what separates him from the rest. It doesn’t hurt that he is also very athletic and can run, run. He has the attributes every coach dreams of. Having another young man drafted out of our program is a testament to how hard our coaches and our players are working to be an outstanding representation of our great university here at North Carolina A&T.”

Johnson is the first N.C. A&T Aggie to be drafted by the Buffalo Bills since the AFL/NFL merger. Defensive end Tom Day (1960), cornerback Lorenzo Stanford (1960) and Mel Phillips (1966) were drafted by the Bills when they were an AFL team. Johnson entered the draft with one year of collegiate eligibility remaining.

He is coming off a 2018 season where he was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) defensive player of the year becoming the first Aggie in 21 years to be named the best defensive player in the conference.

Johnson hopes to follow in the footsteps of the last two MEAC defensive players of the Year. S.C. State linebacker Darius Leonard was a second-round pick last season and earned NFL defensive rookie of the year as well as being named an All-Pro in his first season. S.C. State defensive tackle Javon Hargrove was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and became a starter.

Johnson led the MEAC in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (19.0). He ranked 13th nationally in sacks and 12th in tackles for loss. He was one of four finalists for the black college football player of the year called the Deacon Jones Award. He was named first-team All-American by The Associated Press, STATS FCS, HERO Sports, American Football Coaches Association and BoxToRow.


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