The Tennessee Titans took defensive tackle Antonio Johnson in the 2007 NFL draft but never got him on the active roster. Tuesday, the Titans got a second chance with him when they signed the 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle to a one-year free agent contract.
Originally a fifth-round pick out of Mississippi State, he spent all of 2007 on injured reserve because of a knee injury sustained in training camp. He was on the practice squad for the first half of 2008 before Indianapolis signed him to its active roster.
He played 67 games with 46 starts for the Colts through last season. He set career-highs with 57 tackles and one sack in 2009.
As it stands right now, the Titans’ 2007 draft class was generally a forgettable one.
First-round pick Michael Griffin has been a starter and appeared in a Pro Bowl. Fourth-round pick Leroy Harris and seventh-round selection Mike Otto have been contributors to the offensive line.
Johnson was one of three in that 10-member class who never played a game for Tennessee. Two others, running back Chris Henry (second round) and wide receiver Paul Williams (third round), were waived before they completed their rookie contracts.
Johnson and defensive end Jacob Ford were the only defensive linemen the franchise selected that year. Ford had 15.5 sacks in three seasons but has not played in the NFL since 2010.
Johnson’s return offers an opportunity to add to that group’s overall contributions.
He is the second veteran defensive tackle Tennessee has signed this offseason. Early in free agency it added Sammie Hill from Detroit.
Johnson, 28, is now the oldest and most experienced defensive tackle on the roster. He takes a roster spot that opened when free agent rookie linebacker Tom Wort failed his physical.