PROS: Consistently shows excellent pop off the snap and is able to get position and push as a run blocker. Can get out to the second level quickly and get seal on linebacker. Shows ability to pull. Has good strength, and is effective in pass protection mainly because of it. Plays with good base and is hard to bull rush. Shows some mean streak.
CONS: Has sloppy footwork. Struggles when left on an island against quicker defensive tackles as he doesn't adjust well in space. Doesn't always play with good balance and spends way too much time on the ground. Will overextend and doesn't keep feet under him. Is a waist bender. Not smooth or natural when asked to pull and block on the move, and can be slow out of the gates, causing him to miss assignments. Needs to do a better job locking on and finishing his blocks as a run blocker. Will miss on his cut blocks.
OVERVIEW: A three-year starter that got experience playing everywhere but center. But really found a home at left guard the last two seasons. Can be a dominant run blocker at times, but a bit one-dimensional as he has many flaws in pass protection. Started 41 career games with 26 coming at left guard, 2 at left tackle, 3 at right guard, and 10 at right tackle. Started mainly at RT as a sophomore. He really struggled vs. Utah in last year's bowl at left tackle, as a replacement for Andre Smith.
NFL FORECAST: Johnson fits very well at left guard for a team that wants a road-grading smashmouth run blocker. He is a guy that clears running lanes and typically Alabama ran quite a bit behind him the past two years. He's not a great puller, but is good enough to do so to some degree at the next level. The only real flaw in his game is that he's exposed quite a bit as a pass blocker. In the Utah game a year ago, he was very slow into his stance and overmatched on the edge. He struggles with quickness when he's working on the inside. Is best in confined space and particularly early in his career should get plenty of help from the center. Which is why he projects better to the left side in the pros. But in terms of his run-blocking ability and potential he reminds me of Alan Faneca. However, he's not as good a pass protector as Faneca was in his prime, despite them having similar builds. He can improve in pass protection, but I think he'll give up quite a few sacks throughout his career. Faneca has given up his fair share in his career (averaged 6 the past 6 seasons). But like Faneca, Johnson can make up for that with his ability as a run blocker.
ATL FORECAST: Johnson is the sort of road-grading run blocker that would fit nicely besides Sam Baker and offset his own flaws in that area. He's not quite as mobile or athletic as the Falcons may want, but he passes muster enough in both regards to think that he can be as good as Blalock. His run blocking potential makes it so he could beat Blalock outright as a starter, although I'm sure Boudreau would love to have one year of working with him before throwing him to the wolves. He would definitely be ready and able to start by 2011. But Johnson and Baker could form a very good duo for the Falcons in the future because both players excel in opposite areas, which causes some semblance of balance.
VALUE: Johnson is worth a late second round pick for a team willing to take a chance on a fairly one-dimensional run blocker. He's probably better value in the third round, but run blockers as good and consistent as him don't come along very often.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
PASS BLOCKING: 2.0
RUN BLOCKING: 4.5
MEAN STREAK: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.