Mustafa Johnson was a game-wrecker on defense for the Colorado Buffaloes, appearing in 26 games and earning All-Pac-12 honors twice. Though he may be undersized for his position, there’s a lot to like about his game.
In terms of production, Johnson checks off a lot of boxes. During his college career, he registered 100 total tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
As for his athleticism, Johnson put that to the test at his pro day. He had 27 reps on the bench press, posted a 29-inch vertical, and ran the three-cone drill in 7.18 seconds.
Most analysts have Johnson coming off the board on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. Depending on where he lands, he could find himself on the field fairly soon.
We sat down with Mustafa Johnson to discuss his career at Colorado, how he’s preparing for the NFL Draft, what he wants to accomplish as a rookie and much more.
The Spun: Has it hit you yet that you’re about to make that jump from student-athlete to pro?
Mustafa Johnson: Most definitely. The biggest thing I noticed is that now instead of spending only a certain amount of time on football, I do all this training like it’s a 9-5 job.
The Spun: How do you think you performed at your pro day?
MJ: It was very different because the workouts are literally explosive-oriented. They’re all about being fast, whereas a normal workout is about getting stronger. I would say my pro day went fairly well. I talked to a few NFL teams right after it, so I think I did well.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) March 24, 2021
The Spun: What do you think you showed for scouts on tape?
MJ: That I’m quick, explosive and have a really great motor.
The Spun: What is your favorite move to use when rushing the passer?
MJ: Probably my pull slide, or maybe my power rush to an armover.
The Spun: Which quarterback do you want to sack the most in your rookie season?
MJ: I actually have not thought about that, to be honest [laughing.] My mindset is that I have to get on the field. Once I’m on the field, whoever gets hit, gets hit.
ICYMI, Mustafa Johnson from @CUBuffsFootball was named Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week yesterday after recording three key sacks in the overtime win over Nebraska#GoBuffs pic.twitter.com/J9L8HOtcTm
— Colorado Buffaloes (@CUBuffs) September 10, 2019
The Spun: What was your favorite Colorado moment?
MJ: Probably our win at home against Nebraska in 2019. That was probably the best game I’ve played in because of the energy at the stadium.
The Spun: What do you think your role will be in your rookie season?
MJ: Basically, it’ll come down to whichever team picks me up. If I go to a team that has established defensive linemen on their roster, I’ll need to learn from them and be ready to go when my name is called. If I go to a team that’s lacking in proven defensive linemen, I have to compete for that starting spot.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) September 22, 2020
The Spun: Which defensive lineman do you like to watch the most?
MJ: Aaron Donald for sure because he’s shown me that it doesn’t matter what the statistics say. We’re the same size and weight, but obviously his body looks better than mine. I try to learn from him and see what makes him so successful. There are always a few things from his game that I can add to mine.
The Spun: What are you going to miss the most about playing college football?
MJ: The thing I’ll miss the most is not being an adult. Now, I have to do this to make money. Back at Colorado, I was there just playing the game with the mentality that everything would be all right.
Good job taking advantage of his leverage and getting in Costello's face by Mustafa Johnson. He seems a lil undersized but he plays hard pic.twitter.com/BqXV6EVREt
— Zach (All-22 Addict) Gartin (@All22_Addict) October 5, 2020
The Spun: What are you trying to improve during this draft process?
MJ: I’d say my ability to stop the run. I am a force to be reckoned with in the run game, but from what I understand there’s a different breed of offensive linemen in the NFL. I might not be able to get away with some of the things I did in college. Me being a smaller dude, I’ll have to make up for that by playing big.
The Spun: Do you have any plans for the upcoming draft?
MJ: My mom, my brother and I are going to go to Vegas and have a nice setup at a hotel. It’s going to be us three hanging out and hoping for the best.
The Spun: What is an NFL team getting in Mustafa Johnson?
MJ: They’re getting a playmaker. They’re getting a player who is always going to be around the ball. When that crunch time hits, I’m going to step up and make a play.
— Showtime🎥💥Johnson (@kingstafa_34) January 15, 2021
Johnson is hoping to be the first Colorado defensive lineman drafted since Abraham Wright back in 2007.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.