Panther Prospect Profile: OT Lane Johnson

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

There are a few mock draft scenarios in which OT Lane Johnson drops to the Panthers at #14. In that scenario should the Panthers pull the trigger?

Here's a collection a scouting profiles that I will then attempt to draw some common threads, with the most pertinent coming from Dan Kadar at Mocking the Draft:

Lane Johnson 2013 NFL Draft scouting report - SBNation.com
Conclusion: 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.

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.

Though OT would not be a sexy pick for Gettleman it would give the Panthers flexibility with Jordan Gross and his exorbitant contract. I'm not advocating we cut Gross in May if this pick happened, better to give Johnson a year at RT and see how he develops.

A few more profiles:

NFL Draft 2013 – Offensive Tackle Prospect Lane Johnson – Oklahoma | Steelers 101 | Sports Media 101
The 6-6, 310-pound tackle is extremely athletic with intriguing upside. A two-year starter at offensive tackle, he is still learning the position after starting his college career as a tight end and defensive end. During his time at tackle, he developed into a solid edge blocker in the pass happy Big 12 Conference. At the Senior Bowl, he demonstrated those pass blocking skills and was one of the more impressive prospects to make the trip to the All Star Game.

He did impress at the Senior Bowl

Lane Johnson Draft Profile – NFL.com
STRENGTHS Uses his athleticism well, displaying good foot quickness to mirror pass rushers off the edge to deny them the corner and adjust to their inside moves. Easily reaches second-level targets when pulled outside or stepping up in the box, and sustains the block. Generally plays with good pad level and balance despite his height, and can fire out from a three-point stance and generate a bit of push on run plays. Johnson’s feet keep moving through initial contact, allowing him to get into the correct blocking angle while engaged. He also uses his hands and length well to maintain distance with the defender. NFL coaches will like that he plays with an attitude, as he looks willing to hand-fight with defensive ends, usually landing multiple strong punches, and will consistently finish blocks with a strong arm extension.

'Plays with attitude', I like that.

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com
STRENGTHS: Johnson looks the part with a large frame and long arms (35"). He has quick feet to mirror and has an effortless kick-slide. Explosive off the snap and sets up quickly, using his extremely wide base to cover a large area. He digs his cleats in the turf and lowers his butt in pass protection with the strong upper body to control defenders. Johnson does a nice job using his length to keep rushers at bay and uses his physical limbs to eliminate defenders with his nasty attitude. He has large, powerful hands and usually keeps his hands inside. Natural bender with flexible joints, contorting his frame and selling out for blocks. He locks out and seals defenders on the edge, doing a nice job engaging in space to create run lanes. Has the competitive drive that scouts want for the position and the upside to continue to develop at the position.

Long arms and quick kick step but has room to grow his base.

WEAKNESSES: Room to pack on some more muscle to his frame and strengthen his anchor. He will play undisciplined at times and overextend himself in space, caught hunched at the wait too often. Gets in trouble when he stops his feet and his technique needs refinement. He needs to keep his feet underneath him to better sustain and not fall off blocks.

Seems have a very coachable attitude as well.

Lane Johnson | Oklahoma, OT : 2013 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile
''I think when you have athletic ability, it helps out a bunch and technique will come with coaching,'' he said. ''There's only so much you can do athletically but coaching, there's always things you can improve on. That's my main focus right now.''

Summary:

  • Very athletic, great size, long arms, strong base with room to grow
  • Great attitude and has the mental make up of a pro
  • Only weakness seems to be a lack of experience and he has a few issues with technique he needs to work on
I think Lane Johnson would be a great pick for the Panthers at #14.
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