NFL Scouting Combine: Is Lane Johnson the Top Offensive Tackle?

Lane Johnson

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If the NFL Scouting Combine does nothing else, it sparks lots of interesting debate and conversation. One such debate today after the offensive linemen completed their workouts was if University of Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson could move ahead of Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel.

Before going into my take about this whole situation, let’s be clear. Johnson is an amazing athlete at the offensive tackle position. This young man is a converted quarterback and tight end, with only two years starting experience. 14 starts at right tackle and 11 more at left. On a Sooners offensive line that was in disarray for the entirety of the 2012 season Johnson was the anchor on the left side.

Today at the scouting combine Johnson did out perform Joeckel in the drills, registering a 4.76 40 yard dash, 28 reps in the bench press, a 34 inch vertical jump, 118 inch broad jump, and a 7.31 second 3-cone drill. All better than the numbers Joeckel put up, but that does not, and let me repeat does not mean Joeckel is going to fall behind Johnson on their draft boards. One word sums up why: Film.

Joeckel’s resume’ as an NFL starting left tackle is without reproach. He’s one of the two or three most complete left tackles I have scouted in the past eight seasons. Johnson is a tremendous athlete and very good football player who has a very very high ceiling. However I’ve also watched every snap of football Johnson has had the past two seasons and while he’s a very good prospect, and one of the five best offensive linemen in this draft, he’s not the best tackle. I will be putting out a scouting report on Johnson in the next couple of weeks, but for now understand that the physical side of Johnson’s game, meaning dealing with the strength and aggression of opposing defenses, is something he doesn’t do nearly as well as Joeckel.

If you want a better look at Johnson, go find some full games on line, not cut ups and highlights and form your own opinion. What he did today at the combine was impressive, but nothing he did today can move him ahead of a player like Joeckel.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.


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