Louis Bien - 2013-01-26T13:46:50Z
Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson will very likely be a first round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, assuming scouting reports everywhere haven't been lying to us all. He is listed at No. 23 on SB Nation's own Top 100 big board, and SB Nation's latest mock draft has him going No. 17 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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There is a lot to like about Johnson, as Matthew Fairburn points out. At 6'6, 302 pounds with long arms, Johnson has a prototypical frame for a next-level left tackle. His intelligence, fundamental footwork and strength make him an ideal pass blocker. His athleticism allows him to get to the second level quickly, making him an effective run blocker as well.
Speaking more to his intelligence, Johnson has twice been named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. In a league where you make your money on split-second decisions, this has to be considered a big plus for the youngster.
One team that could be a fit are the Chicago Bears. Chicago likes what it saw in Mobile, Alabama during the Senior Bowl practices, and is certainly in the market for an offensive lineman, according to the Sun Times.
Another team that might make a play for Johnson are the New York Giants, who even had a scout say "that's ,y left tackle" when watching him in Mobile, according to Giants101.com.
However, while Johnson has played both left and right tackle, he may lack the initial punch to be an elite road-grader. Fairburn notes that Johnson hasn't yet shown the essential mean streak exhibited by the best in the NFL. He has still has room to grow, however, in terms of his technique and his strength, and should start multiple years in the league, according to Fairburn:
Lane Johnson is one of the best offensive tackles available in the 2013 NFL Draft. He's awareness jumps out when watching him play. Athleticism and short area quickness won't be an issue for Johnson. He's going to come off the board at some point in the first round and have a steady career in the NFL.Video via Draft Breakdown:
Pro Comparison: Jordan Gross, Carolina Panthers
Both Johnson and Gross play the game with tremendous awareness and instinct. They also both lack a bit of the mean streak you like to see from an NFL offensive tackle. Johnson has the upside to become a Gross-type anchor on an NFL line.
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