Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Player Profile: LSU OG Herman Johnson

Pros: Johnson is the biggest player in this year’s class, standing almost 6’8 and weighing over 350 pounds. He was over 400 pounds before his freshman year at LSU, but he’s worked hard to get in the best shape possible and now looks much more athletic. His wingspan allows the offensive lineman to keep defenders away from his body. Despite being enormous, the former Tiger shows good agility and is surprisingly athletic for his size. He gets out of his stance quickly both on runs and in pass blocking. Johnson is a tough and intelligent player, as well as an intimidating one—he plays with a mean streak. He never looks lost or unsure of his responsibility. His stock is rising with talk of him possibly playing tackle at the NFL level. Scouts and coaches were pleased that he was willing to play both guard and tackle at the Senior Bowl.

Cons: He is quick for his size but probably not quick enough to handle playing left tackle. He struggles with quick defenders and is not exceptionally good at picking up linebackers at the second level. The former Bayou Bengal does not do well when asked to pull on sweeps due to his inability to get out in front of the runner. Johnson can get lazy at times with his blocks and can rely too much on his long arms to shield defenders.

Scouts Take: Johnson is a very interesting prospect because of his enormous size. He would probably excel as a guard but could benefit his team more if he can handle playing tackle. He struggled at the Senior Bowl when he played right tackle, but that was expected due to his lack of experience playing on the outside. He was a team leader and understands the team first concept, which is very important for a young player that is asked to switch positions. He played against top-notch competition in the SEC and held his own with some of the nation’s top interior defensive linemen. The LSU product will not be a good fit for every team, but expect Johnson to go somewhere in round two. With good coaching and the ability to learn quickly, Johnson should start for his team next season at either guard position or right tackle. He has the size and ability to be a future All-Pro.

Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media