Packers 2016 Draft: Roundtable mock draft first round
Ralph Mancini: DT Austin Johnson, Penn State
My pick is neither popular nor sexy, but I want a big man who can help shore up our run defense; a man who comes with the stamina to give us a lot of snaps without going through any developmental stage. To me, that man is Austin Johnson.
While most media members don’t deem him worthy of a first-round pick, a number of scouts have him pegged as a top-50 prospect. Johnson is a stout defender who can hold up two blockers at the line of scrimmage, but also comes with the lateral agility to hunt down ball carriers and even pass catchers in the flat. I’m not a big stats guy, but his 78 tackles last season are a simply amazing total for a down lineman.
To boot, the Nittany Lions prospect is quick off the snap and is quick to diagnose plays. Instincts are something you either have or you don’t. Johnson is a ready-made starting nose tackle who will bring his lunch bucket and give you a full day’s work with the way he constantly plays through the whistle.
What about his pass rush? We have pass rushers. The Packers need beef. They need players who will hold their ground and walk blockers back. If TT doesn’t take this lineman with the 27th pick, he may not be there in Round 2.
Next: Kenn Korb