Here is the PFF draft profile for Penn State's Austin Johnson, which incorporates PFF’s college grades and scouting intel from our team of analysts. To see all of PFF’s 2016 scouting reports,click here.
Nose tackle in a 4-3 scheme, though he has the skills to work as a defensive end in a 3-4.
Stats to know:
Ranked third among the nation’s interior defensive lineman against the run at +36.9 in 2015, after finishing 33rd in 2014 at +16.8.
What he does best:
• Quick, strong hands; wins often on first contact
• Good block recognition, feels where block is coming from and can defeat it
• Shows power to bull-rush and disrupt both runs and passes in the backfield
• Sheds blocks on the move, finds the ball
• Reads and tracks down-screens
• Finishes well when he gets to the quarterback
• Can shoot gaps as well as any nose tackle prospect in the class
• Struggles to anchor when he doesn’t win initially on first contact
• Does not always hold the point against double-teams
• Not a great down-to-down pass-rusher, only one strong year of pass-rushing grades
• May not be suited for a two-gapping scheme or work as a 0-technique nose tackle
Malcom Brown, New England Patriots. Both Johnson and Brown win and lose in a similar manner, often shedding blocks quickly, but also getting moved off the line of scrimmage when they can’t win on that initial contact.
Johnson has a unique skill-set that allows him to shed blocks, but he doesn’t anchor as well as you’d like for a 315-pounder. That may be something that can improve through technique and emphasis within a scheme, so he brings some versatility to the defensive line.