Thursday, March 28, 2013

Prospect Profile: OT Lane Johnson - Oklahoma

Name:  Lane Johnson
Height:  6' - 6"
Weight:  303 lbs.
Class:  RSr.
Hometown:  Groveton, TX
Date of Birth:  ?/?/1989 (23-24 years old)
Prior College / High School:  Kilgore College / Groveton HS

Sooner Career:

2012:  Played in all 13 games for the Sooners including 11 starts at Left Tackle.  Named All-American Third Team by and All-Big 12 Second Team by Coaches.  Academic All-Big 12 First Team.

2011:  Started 12 of 13 games at Right Tackle, had a career game in knockdowns with 10 vs. Kansas.  Missed the Tulsa game.  Named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team.

2010:  Began season as a Tight End then switched to Defensive End midway through the season.

2009:  Redshirted

2008 (Kilgore College):  Played QB at start of season and was 32/61 for 510 yards and 3 TDs...then switched to Tight End as he continued to grow.

2012 Senior Year Highlights:

2011 Junior Year Highlights:

Strengths (+):
+  Shows ridiculous upside
 Long, lean with very long arms
 Above average feet, with effortless shifting ability and recovery quicks to mirror defenders off either side of the offensive line
 Basically an OT with the athleticism of a TE
+  Outstanding Combine Numbers: Link
 Very good in space, breaks down quickly and maintains his blocks to create running lanes
 Shows excellent reach ability with his quick feet and length
 Demonstrates tenacity and ferocity, consistently finishing blocks with a mean streak
 Picks up stunts and blitzes very quickly
 Former QB with smarts, twice named Academic All-Big 12
 Seeks to be effective on blocks, doesn't care how he looks doing it
 Delivers good pop in small spaces
 Natural fit for a Zone Blocking Scheme at the next level
 Plays RT/LT rather indiscriminately
 Showed very, very well at the Senior Bowl, launching himself from a Top 40 pick into Top 10 consideration (as did CMU OT Eric Fisher)

Weaknesses (-):
-  Limited experience as an offensive lineman, about two full years, at both Right and Left Tackle, with only one year as a blind side protector
 Has outstanding natural ability, but will need to add mass to be effective as a consistent run blocker in the NFL
 Can be beat by power moves if he doesn't establish extension
 Will need some breaking in at the NFL level

NFL Draft Outlook:
With what is considered a deep class of talent along the offensive and defensive lines, Lane Johnson has established himself as a premier prospect at the Left Tackle position.  With many teams needing blind side help in the Top 12, he should have no trouble getting drafted early.  San Diego seems to be the most likely landing spot for Johnson at this point as he's widely thought of as the 3rd best tackle prospect in this class...but perhaps...the one with the most upside.  It wouldn't surprise ORDW if Johnson turned out to be the best Offensive Tackle drafted in 2013.

Outlook as a Raider:
At No. 3, it's possible the Raiders could be looking Offensive Tackle.  They have right tackle issues, but don't really need an elite talent at Left Tackle with newly bulked up LT Jared Veldheer looking stronger and stronger.  However, while Oakland may not want to draft a Right Tackle at No. 3 Overall, there are possibilities to consider in the GM's office.  Veldheer is in a contract year.  He has far exceeded expectations since being drafted in 2012 in the 3rd Round.  On the verge of a Pro Bowl year, Veldheer will be demanding TOP, absolutely TOP DOLLAR in 2014.  He has no doubt earned it, and with Reggie making more and more cap space for the future, it would be reasonable to assume that Veldheer will be taken care of.  However, having a rookie RT, who has LT talent, in his second year (in 2014) could be an advantage in negotiating, or at the very least, provide another option on the blind side should Veldheer suddenly desire to bolt to a serious contender if Oakland's propsects at the playoffs, for whatever reason, don't look any better going into the 2014 & 2015 seasons.  Securing another top quality Tackle prospect would provide insurance and youth on what is a relatively weak OL from a LG, RG and RT standpoint.  Scenario for drafting Johnson at No. 3 are slim...unless KC goes Joeckel and JAX goes Fisher...then Johnson would be the top OT left on the board.  Reggie and Co. would than have to weigh the options left...likely Lotulelei, Jordan, Ansah, Richardson, Geno, Milliner, Werner, Floyd and Johnson.  Another possibility would be to secure a trade down in the 4-10 range.  Obviously, San Diego has to have Johnson targeted at the moment with Gaither recently being released.  While it's tough to envision getting a trade down into the 4-10 range, then again, at the No. 11 spot (San Diego), stranger things have happened...I mean, the Jets traded up for Sanchez and the Jags traded up for Gabbert...okay, rambling over.

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