First Round, Fourth Pick
A quarterback-turned-tight-end-turned-offensive-tackle, Lane Johnson has undergone one of the more dramatic position switches over his college career. He dabbled at both tight end and defensive end at first for Oklahoma before finally finding a home at offensive tackle in 2011.
+ Elite athleticism for the position
+ Finisher with a nasty temperament
+ Lean frame that should be able to carry more weight
- Thin, developing lower body
- Poor pad level and knee-bend at times
- Must get stronger and improve overall technique
Best Team Fits
DET (1.5), ARI (1.7), SD (1.11), MIA (1.12)
Tools ( + )
While Johnson’s athleticism was already apparent on tape, it was more than confirmed when the former tight end showed up to the NFL combine. He was a top-five performer in every event for offensive linemen, showing both lower body explosiveness (34” vertical jump and 118” broad jump) and elite change of direction and quickness (7.31 three cone and 4.52 short shuttle).
Johnson has no character concerns of note.
Johnson is afforded the opportunity to play predominantly from a two-point stance in Oklahoma’s version of the Air Raid offense. Johnson played right tackle as a junior and left tackle as a senior. He would also line up as an eligible receiver in Oklahoma’s heavy packages in short yardage and on the goal line.
Pass Blocking ( + )
As a former tight end, Johnson has all of the natural tools and athleticism to be a top-tier left tackle in the NFL. He does have an inconsistent first two steps in pass protection, cycling between not gaining enough ground (causing him to get tall and turn his shoulders immediately off the snap) to over-setting against speed. He does have natural mirror skills, however, and his athleticism allows him to recover easily from technique mistakes against college defensive ends and linebackers.
Run Blocking ( + )
At this point, Johnson is neither a technician nor a mauler in the run game—he’s simply a high-effort player who needs technique work. He does play with a mean streak and tries to finish blocks off, but he needs a lot of work in regards to aiming points and attacking the defender’s correct shoulder. Johnson needs work on aiming points/attacking defender’s correct shoulder because his man slips off and disengages too often due to balance and technique issues.
Blocking In Space/Recovery ( + )
Johnson’s athleticism shows up in his movement getting to the second level and on reach blocks, as he is able to accomplish both with ease. He has light feet and accelerates quickly to get in front of backs and lead them in the perimeter run game.
Johnson’s feet in pass protection are still inconsistent, but his length and recovery speed have allowed him to run defenders up the field and past the pocket. He’s also surprisingly good about sealing off the inside rush lane after over-setting, running the pass-rusher down the line of scrimmage with good power.
Handfighting/Technique ( - )
While Johnson has a dominating punch to reset the line of scrimmage, he is feisty about fighting to get into the defender’s chest, often re-punching to try to get inside position. He doesn’t always play with good knee-bend and overcompensates for his thin and developing lower body by getting tall and playing with too wide of a base. As a result, he’ll put his head down and fail to roll his hips through contact, allowing his man to disengage easily at times.
Despite being a little rough around the edges and needing to add more bulk and strength (especially to his lower body), Johnson possesses the kind of elite athleticism and foot speedthat NFL teams have coveted in their left tackles for decades. He figures to be the third tackle off the board (behind Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher) but has the kind of staggering upside that lead many to think that he could end up as the best of the group.
All video provided courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!