In this writer's opinion, Johnson struggled in 2016 and should have returned for his senior year to get better before going pro. He turned in some underwhelming performances during 2016, including rough tapes against Ole Miss, Louisville, Miami, and Michigan.
Some NFL sources haven't been as hard on Johnson, but they aren't excited about him either. Even scouts from teams that are desperate for offensive line help aren't pining for their team to land Johnson. He hasn't been receiving first-round grades, unlike the suggestion of media hype. The optimistic team sources think Johnson is a backup player in the NFL and potential fringe starter. Other evaluators think Johnson is just not a good player.
Johnson had an ugly start to 2016 as Ole Miss and edge rusher Marquis Haynes exposed a lot of problems. Johnson was beaten for a sack and got zero movement in opening holes in the running game. The junior lacks strength and doesn't generate any push in the ground game. He ties up his blocker, but is not a force at the point of attack to push a defender out of their gap. In pass protection, Johnson has the athleticism to protect against speed rushers, but he is weak to block inside moves and gets bull rushed too easily. Even undersized speed rushers have success bull rushing him. Johnson is a finesse player who needs development.
A lot was made how the Seminoles' offensive line improved when Cam Erving moved to center midway through 2014, but Johnson was the reason for that move. He took over at left tackle and showed a lot of potential as a protector for Jameis Winston. Johnson was solid in 2015 and helped Dalvin Cook run wild over the ACC.
For the passing-driven NFL, Johnson has the skill set to be a competitor at left tackle. He has good size and length to protect on the edge. Johnson has some athleticism and is quick to adjust to blitzes or stunts in pass protection. Against speed rushers, Johnson can do a nice job of riding defenders around the pocket.
Johnson isn't a true bull in the ground game, but he is an effective run blocker. He is quick to get to spots on the second level and hit some blocks to spring his back for big gains. He doesn't blast defensive linemen out of their gap, but he does well holding them up and walling them off to the side to help open holes for his back.
There are a few things that Johnson needs to improve. The big issue for Johnson is improving his feet. He needs to get faster in his quick slide and bend at the knees over bending at the race. Sometimes Johnson can be sloppy in shuffling his feet, and he bends at the waist to reach after pass-rushers. He gets away with it against college defenders, but the NFL that isn't going to work, especially when going against a good rusher.
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