Eagles training camp 2022: Rookie Kyron Johnson cares about his sleep

Eagles training camp 2022: Rookie Kyron Johnson cares about his sleep

Over the next few weeks of training camp as the Eagles try to decide who to keep on their 53-man roster, we’ll be catching up weekly with sixth-round SAM linebacker Kyron Johnson from Kansas. We’ll be tracking his progress as he tries to make the Eagles’ roster.

Within a stone’s throw from the air conditioning pumping through the NovaCare Complex, rookie Kyron Johnson didn’t seem too tired. Not after the longest practice of the summer. Not after spending all morning in oppressive heat.

That’s because he has a secret weapon.

Well, I guess it’s not that secret; he tells anyone who will listen about the value of rest. And that’s what has propelled him through his first six training camp practices as an NFL player.

“That’s the one main thing that I probably tell everybody,” Johnson said on Thursday. “I know I ain’t old like the vets, but I’ll even tell the vets that too. Get some sleep. That’s the main thing that can help you.”

Yes, the 24-year-old has this sleep thing figured out.

When asked what he likes to do back in the hotel room with his downtime, Johnson admitted he’s pretty boring. Most nights, he’ll go over practice tape for 1 1/2-2 hours and then it’s lights out. When pushed, Johnson said on occasion he’ll watch some TV or play video games.

“…But I’m trying to sleep,” he said.

Typically, Johnson said he’ll call it a night around 9:30-10 pm His alarm goes off at 7 every morning. So he’s getting around…carry the one…9 hours of sleep every night. That’s enough to propel him through long days of lifting, practice and, as he said, “meetings, meetings and more meetings.”

Between OTAs and the start of training camp, Johnson went back home to Texas — that experience in the heat has helped him this week — and just mentally prepared.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” Johnson said. “I just knew I can’t control what I can’t control. So ain’t no need to be stressing about this. Just have your mind on full go.”

Life as a rookie can be a difficult one, especially for a late-round pick, but it seems like Johnson has acclimated nicely in Philly. The hardest part of the transition is learning Jonathan Gannon’s defensive playbook, which is still expanding for the rookies as install continues.

But Johnson is definitely fitting in. He struggled to put himself in the category of an “extrovert” or an “introvert.” But he’s a friendly guy who seems proud in his ability to simply be himself and not fake a personality. He’s making friends too.

One of those new friends is undrafted SAM linebacker Ali Fayad from Western Michigan. Fayad was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021 but is now battling for a roster spot — or maybe even a practice squad spot — in Philadelphia. Since they play the same position and are both rookies learning a new defense, Johnson and Fayad have really hit it off.

“He’s a real good player,” Johnson said of his new buddy. “Y’all should talk to him as well.”

As far as the veterans go, Johnson said he gets tips from all of them, but has really gravitated toward Brandon Graham. Good guy to spend time with. The 34-year-old Graham is entering Year 13 and is the longest-tenured athlete in the city. On Thursday morning, Johnson had breakfast with Graham at the facility and the two had a conversation about working the edge and Graham regaled Johnson with stories about his early training camp experiences.

If you follow Graham on social media, you probably saw him release videos from the rookie talent show. Johnson sang “Cause I love you” by Lenny Williams. Johnson grew up with Williams playing in his house and seemed pleased with his performance.

“They were like, ‘Boy, you got a voice on you,'” Johnson said. “I was like, ‘You ain’t even heard the rest yet.”

But singing can wait. Johnson is plenty busy these days.

Goal for next week: Johnson said he’s really been working on his get-off as a pass rusher.

“I was just working it with coach now. Just getting adjusted to it. I played a lot of positions, not D-end. So when I put my hand in the dirt, it’s not like it’s new, but I have to get adjusted to how I’m really supposed to get off the line.”

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