Photo of Austin Johnson
Drafted By: Titans
  • Round 2
  • Pick 12
  • Overall 43

Combine Results

Grade
5.97 ?
  • 5.32 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 25 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 26.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 99.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.84 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.75 SEC
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"He's a natural fit for a 3-4 base defense team, which is what Tennessee is. He has power and movement skills. When his pad level is low, he is an explosive football player. This is a big, powerful dude." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'4" Height
  • 32 3/4" Arm Length
  • 314LBS. Weight
  • 9 7/8" Hands

Overview

Johnson is one of two Big Ten performers in his own family, as his sister, Kennedy, plays on the hardwood for Michigan State. He was an all-state performer in basketball during high school, and Cap-Atlantic Player of the Year as a senior, but as his 6-4, 325-pound frame continued to fill out, it was clear he belonged on the football field. Johnson sat out a redshirt season in 2012, then ate up room inside the next year, starting two games, making 27 tackles, two for a loss. In an honorable mention All-Big Ten sophomore season, Johnson saved his best for last, racking up seven of his 49 tackles (six for loss) for the year in a Pinstripe Bowl win over Boston College. Somehow while earning all-conference honors (third team from coaches, second team from media) in 2015, Johnson managed to earn his journalism degree with the hopes of joining a broadcast crew once his NFL career is over -– which might be a while given the size and athleticism he showed while accumulating 78 tackles, 15 for loss, and six sacks last season.

Analysis

Strengths

Exceptional size and girth with burly bubble, thighs and calves. Doesn't carry much bad weight on his sizable frame and moves well for a big man. Plays with excellent hustle and pursuit. Rare tackle production for an interior defender with 75 this season. Won't give in against double teams. Plants an outside leg and fights hard to hold his ground and maintain integrity of his gap. Fights through secure blocks and gets back onto play ­side. Plus instincts and awareness. Against shotgun rushing attacks, looks to set an early edge and has a nose for screen passes. Bull ­rusher who can walk a center deep into the pocket.

Weaknesses

Doesn't make hand usage a high enough priority at point of attack. Allows blockers into his frame forcing a much more labored disengagement. Has to change mindset from holding ground to winning quickly at point of attack. Might not have desired length for classic, stack and shed nose. Showed signs of frustration with Ohio State's Jacoby Boren's tenacity. Can be knocked off-­balance early in rep when his pad level isn’t right. Needs to fire into blockers and take command of neutral zone. Not a penetrating pass rusher.

Draft Projection

Round 2

NFL Comparison

Dan Williams

Bottom Line

Johnson has the lower body power to become a block­-eating nose tackle with the ability to keep linebackers clean, but his energy, pursuit and tackle production show that he is much more than that. Johnson has technique and pad level issues to improve upon, but he's never content to just sit on blocks and he's very rarely dominated on a snap. Johnson's strength and activity will make him a draft favorite of salty defensive line coaches.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster

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