Penn State’s Austin Johnson is an under-the-radar defensive tackle prospect who has tremendous upside. This is a player who needs to be getting more national attention as he’s one of the more impactful defensive linemen in the country. Look for Johnson to start gaining more love in NFL Draft circles as the season progresses.
The first thing that stands out with Johnson is his size where he features a thick build. His size and natural strength allow him to anchor at the line of scrimmage. He’s truly a load who is rarely moved off the ball.
This clip shows Johnson’s ability to anchor at the point of attack, work his way to the football, disengage and make the tackle:
Johnson is such an effective run defender because he has a rare combination of awareness, power and hand strength. He’s always working his way to the football and does a great job pursing down the line of scrimmage. His strong hands allow him to control the action and quickly disengage to make plays away from his frame.
This isn’t the type of player who’ll generate a ton of pressure on the quarterback but he does have sneaky pass-rush ability. He’s able to get after the quarterback because he has good snap awareness and uses his good snap awareness violent hands to keep the blocker off his frame.
Johnson’s motor is also a major asset as he always works to the whistle. This clip shows Johnson not giving up on the play, take a great angle and his deceptive speed:
The only concern I have at this point is his arm length as he appears to struggle gaining inside hands form time to time. It’ll be interesting to see his measurements at the combine.
I may be in the minority, but to me Johnson is a first-round talent with a chance to dominate the line of scrimmage. He’s already an excellent run defender who shows flashes of at least and average pass-rusher.
Current Draft Position: 1st Round