Austin Johnson

Penn State
DT #99
Senior 6’4 320lbs


Sep 27, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle Austin Johnson (99) swats a pass against the Northwestern Wildcats at Beaver Stadium. The Northwestern Wildcats won 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Penn State defensive tackle Austin Johnson
  • Frame holds well. He’s a big bodied lane-clogger with lateral shiftiness.
  • Plays to the whistle. Doesn’t give up on the play
  • Athletic for his size. Faster than he looks – covers ground quickly
  • Motor isn’t overly impressive. Doesn’t explode.
  • Average at the point of attack. Hangs around the line, doesn’t push the pile
  • Unimpressive in pass rush, can get glued to his block


Austin Johnson is a large, athletic DT who passes the eye test and moves reasonably well for a 320lb lineman. After a relatively quiet first couple years at Penn State, Austin turned up the heat in 2015 with an impressive campaign that included 6.5 sacks and 15.0 for a loss. Not bad for a run-stuffing tackle in the suddenly competitive Big 10. Austin has the frame and size to play nose or tackle in a 3-technique, but he’s nearly as good a fit as a DE in a 5-technique. He doesn’t play with enough strength and balance to be a fit at NT, but he could slide in at end in a 3-4 the way Mohammed Wilkerson did coming out of temple as a DT.

The problem with Austin Johnson is that he doesn’t play with the same motor or aggression that makes Wilkerson so overwhelming at the line. Too often, Austin gets stood up and forced to dance around the block. At the point of attack, he shrinks and doesn’t use his arms well to control the battle. Because of that, he can struggle with balance and direction, which NFL O-lineman will easily exploit. However, Johnson remain engaged in the play — eating up running backs and running back lanes. He plays with enough tenacity and intelligence to carve out a role for himself as a reliable, if not average DE in the NFL playing in someone’s 3-4 defense.

NFL comparison: Cedric Thornton

Round Value: 2nd-3th

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