NFL Draft 2013: Lane Johnson prospect profile

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Lane Johnson is projected to be a first-round draft pick just about everywhere, but does he have the mean streak to be an elite left tackle in the NFL?

Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson will very likely be a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, assuming scouting reports everywhere haven't been lying to us all. He is listed at No. 23 on SB Nation's own Top 100 big board, and SB Nation's latest mock draft has him going No. 17 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

For more draft coverage, check out Mocking The Draft

There is a lot to like about Johnson, as Matthew Fairburn points out. At 6'6, 302 pounds with long arms, Johnson has a prototypical frame for a next-level left tackle. His intelligence, fundamental footwork and strength make him an ideal pass blocker. His athleticism allows him to get to the second level quickly, making him an effective run blocker as well.

Speaking more to his intelligence, Johnson has twice been named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. In a league where you make your money on split-second decisions, this has to be considered a big plus for the youngster.

The Chicago Bears are one time that could be a fit. Chicago likes what it saw in Mobile, Alabama during the Senior Bowl practices, and is certainly in the market for an offensive lineman, according to the Sun Times.

The New York Giants may also make a play for Johnson. They even had a scout say "that's my left tackle" when watching him in Mobile, according to Giants101.com.

However, while Johnson has played both left and right tackle, he may lack the initial punch to be an elite road-grader. Fairburn notes that Johnson hasn't yet shown the essential mean streak exhibited by the best in the NFL. He still has room to grow, however, in terms of his technique and his strength, and should start multiple years in the league, according to Fairburn:

Lane Johnson is one of the best offensive tackles available in the 2013 NFL Draft. He's awareness jumps out when watching him play. Athleticism and short area quickness won't be an issue for Johnson. He's going to come off the board at some point in the first round and have a steady career in the NFL.

Pro Comparison: Jordan Gross, Carolina Panthers

Both Johnson and Gross play the game with tremendous awareness and instinct. They also both lack a bit of the mean streak you like to see from an NFL offensive tackle. Johnson has the upside to become a Gross-type anchor on an NFL line.

2013 NFL Combine performance:

Johnson had a tremendous showing at the combine, blowing away the other offensive lineman in terms of speed and quickness. He blew away the other top offensive tackle prospects in the 40-yard dash, finishing in 4.72 seconds, but also did very well in the lower body strength tests like the vertical jump and broad jump.

The strong showing by Johnson, coupled with a good performance by Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, has led many to believe that there will be three offensive tackles taken in the top half of the first round.

Video via Draft Breakdown:

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