Oct 19, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores running back Jerron Seymour (3) celebrates with lineman Wesley Johnson (67) and tight end Steven Scheu (81) after Seymour scored a touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report – Wesley Johnson, OT Vanderbilt


Wesley Johnson has most notably been the left tackle for the Vanderbilt Commodores, but has experience at right tackle, center and guard as well.  In addition to being a captain of the team, Johnson started in every single one of the 51 games he played, helping Vanderbilt as part of what is likely the most successful senior class that school has ever had.

Going to the NFL, Johnson is a versatile lineman with a nasty demeanor on the field that has played extremely well against some of the best players in the country. He has experience at all five positions and brings a good amount of value as a potential player that can save roster space with the potential to develop into a starter.  Johnson projects as a day three player that could go earlier than some might expect because of his versatility and vast amount of experience playing at a high level, especially if they like him as a tackle.

Vitals & Build

Johnson measured 6’5” and is up to 302lbs as of his Pro Day with 33 1/8” arms.  He has a good amount of brute strength but can be inconsistent on maximizing it in functional terms, though he is really good at getting power from his hips.  He has does not carry much excess weight and actually has struggled to keep weight on, so his best path to get to the 300lb mark was by adding muscle.  Johnson still has a pretty intriguing amount of physical upside because he can continue to get stronger and get better as using all of it.

Athleticism

Johnson shows an impressive amount of athletic ability.  His burst is great and firing out in a straight line, he can look like a tight end going down the field.  His feet are good enough to be a tackle and he has good body control to be able to break down and block in space.

The issue with Johnson is that he can end up playing tall at times, which makes it more difficult for him to maintain balance and change direction at time.  When playing low and going, he looks good going forward and working laterally.

Run Blocking

Johnson is mean and plays with an edge.  He is a finisher who shows a good motor and plays to the echo of the whistle, always looking for another block or a way to help his teammates and gain an edge.

Johnson has a good initial punch and can jolt opponents initially knocking them off balance and allowing him to gain control.  He is able to take operate taking opponents straight up, but is effective when it comes to cutting opponents and giving them something else to think about.  Johnson can be an effective player coming down on a block.

He has the ability to land multiple blocks on the same play, gets to the second level really well and can kick out and pull.  Johnson does a good job of working his body in between the ball carrier and the defender, taking advantage of angles.

There are times when Johnson can have some trouble getting behind his pads.  When on the goal line or obvious short yardage plays, he will use a stance that is lower to the ground and it allows him to fire out with terrific pad level.  He fires at his gap and it enables him to either hit an opponent and drive them out of the way or should he fire out inside, his body is in the way enough to prevent the opponent from getting inside of him to get to the ball carrier.

Pass Protection

Johnson is an intriguing pass protector because he is able to move well and has good instincts for the job.  He looks to hit opponents with an initial punch that if it lands, can gain him immediate control and stop momentum before it starts.

Johnson uses great angles and is able to make it difficult for opponents to find lanes around him.  He has natural length between and is able to cover a good amount of ground on the outside.

Johnson absorbs power well and can anchor effectively, able to re-anchor when needed and get control.  He has also been pretty good when it comes to countering speed to power from opponents.  Despite the fact he can drift up and stand tall at times, this really has not been a problem that opponents have exploited.

Johnson can work outside and can move his feet well enough to take away that lane.  Again, he can end up tall which can make it difficult to plant his foot and redirect to go the other way when an opponent tries to switch him up.  This might be the area that has given Johnson the most problem, but it is not like it has really been an issue that has hurt him against competition in college.

Technique

Johnson has a good initial punch, can show heavy hands, but needs to get better at replacing his hands after missing that initial punch or having the opponent knock them down.  This is not really a weakness, but just something that will only make him better at the next level.

His angles are good, his understanding of where and how he can block opponents in space, having a good sense of where things are around him, makes it so even in situations where he looks like he might be beaten, he is able to recover and shield the opponent from the play.

Footwork

Johnson has good feet and is capable of doing the job.  In addition to simply getting them as good as he can, he just needs to continue to try to keep his center of gravity lower and make it easier for him to transition and slide back and forth.

System Fit

Johnson is best suited to play in a zone scheme, because he may have trouble gaining too much more weight and he is a good foot athlete.  He has shown he can get anywhere on the field he needs to be to make a play, which will make him an attractive target.

Johnson may end up being brought in as a sixth or seventh lineman initially because he does have the ability to play all five spots on the line.  He has the potential to start at a few spots, so it may just be a situation where a team needs a guy and he may be part of the best five man unit.

NFL Comparison

Johnson has some similarities to Charlie Johnson of the Minnesota Vikings.  Charlie Johnson has played both guard and tackle in the NFL and while he has not been an ideal starter, he has been a difficult player to get rid of because of his versatility.  Wesley Johnson may ultimately be a better starter in the NFL, but he should at least be good depth on a roster that can fill in at multiple spots.

Draft Projection

Wesley Johnson is the type of grinder that NFL teams seem to love.  He plays hard, does not miss games and plays to the whistle.  His physical tools are not ideal but he gets a good amount out of his physical tools and is a savvy player who understands the position and the game in general.  Johnson warrants a third day pick but has a chance to surprise because of his potential ability at tackle and is the type of player it is extremely difficult to cut and tends to play in the league for a decade.

Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com

Interview with Wesley Johnson from April 3rd

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Featured Popular Tackles Vanderbilt Commodores Football Wesley Johnson