Bears football player Eric Johnson drafted by Colts

The Indianapolis Colts drafted Missouri State Bears defensive lineman Eric Johnson in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

Press release

Missouri State defensive lineman Eric Johnson (Plainfield, Ill.) was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round of the National Football League Draft here Saturday.

Johnson was the 159th overall pick in this year’s draft — the sixth selection in the fifth round — and is the 18th player from Missouri State to be drafted by an NFL club. He is also the first Bear to be drafted since David Arkin (4th round, Cowboys) in 2011.

Johnson played a school-record 55 consecutive games as a five-year starter for Missouri State. His draft stock skyrocketed in the offseason with his notable efforts in NFLPA Bowl and Senior Bowl games after earning second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors in his final season at Springfield. .

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Johnson as the No. 10 defensive tackle in his pre-draft rankings.

During the 2021 campaign, Johnson racked up 43 total saves with 6.5 tackles for loss and 3 blocked kicks. He seemed to save the best for last with a career-high 11 tackles against UT Martin (11/27/21) in the NCAA FCS Playoff game at Plaster Stadium in his final college game with a forced fumble and kick. blocked foot. Johnson also blocked a kick at Illinois State (10/2/21) before recording 5 tackles in the team’s win at No. 7 Southern Illinois (11/6/21). Johnson finished the 2021 season with a streak of 23 straight starts.

He finished his college career with 131 total saves, including 19.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in 55 games at MSU. He was a key part of the coach Bobby PetrinoThe 2020-21 MVFC Co-Championship Team and the 2021 MVFC Runner-up Team, both of which earned NCAA Division I FCS Playoff berths.

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