I feel like I say this about every prospect in this draft, but Lane Johnson is an extremely raw, intriguing prospect. He played quarterback a bit in junior college, then defensive end and tight end at Oklahoma before settling in on the offensive line. Let’s see how he looks at tackle.
OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
I know, I know. It takes a second to try to picture the 6’6″, 300+ lb. Johnson playing quarterback. He has a very big frame, and room to add more muscle. He’s going to need it, as it will help him in anchoring, which has been a problem at Oklahoma. He gets knocked off balance far too often. He also stops moving his feet far too often, but these are things that can be coached, and Johnson is very new to playing on the offensive line.
Very raw, but also extremely athletic. Johnson has all of the things that you can’t coach. After a very strong Senior Bowl, he’s a player that has a chance to blow teams away at the NFL Combine with his athleticism. He’s got great quickness, and can be very effective when he’s on the move. He explodes off the snap. You can see that he has great length, as his greatest talent is in using his arms to keep defenders at bay. To top it all off, he has the mean streak that I love in a lineman.
I certainly do like Johnson, as he has the potential to be one of the best offensive tackles in the league. He spent most of 2011 on the right side of the line. He won’t be seeing any snaps at quarterback in the NFL, but he has some real positional versatility. People think he can go as high as #7, and as low as the second round. I don’t think he can be effective as a rookie, and he may not even be a left tackle in his second season. I think he’s best suited on a team that can play him at right tackle, or better yet can afford to have him back up both tackle positions, and let him learn for a year or two. He should be viewed as more of a project. I’ve watched Duane Brown blossom from a converted tight end into one of the best left tackles in the NFL, but it took years. I think Johnson could have a very similar career trajectory if he’s placed in the right situation.