The Cleveland Browns made their fourth trade of the 2017 NFL Draft, continuing their busy Day 3. The Browns moved up in the fifth round to pick No. 160, where they chose offensive tackle Roderick Johnson of Florida State.
The Browns were in need of depth at the offensive tackle position, especially with the loss of Austin Pasztor this offseason. Johnson will most likely come in as a developmental player and will learn from one of the greats, Joe Thomas. Not a bad way to enter the league.
So, what are the Browns getting in their newest offensive tackle? In this week’s film room, we will take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Roderick Johnson’s game. Let’s get some popcorn and roll the tape!
The first thing you notice with Roderick Johnson is his massive size and length. He stands at 6-foot-7, 298 pounds with 36-inch arms. Here are some examples of where his size and length come into play on the field. In the first play against Florida, Johnson is at left tackle in a pass protection situation. The Florida defender rushes off the edge and tries to bull rush the mammoth offensive tackle. However, Johnson’s long arms keep the rusher away from his chest, which negates the rusher’s ability to gain any momentum forward. Johnson uses his long arms to finish off the block and keep his quarterback clean. In the second play versus Florida, Johnson is once again at left tackle in a pass protection situation. This play showed how his length could make up for some weaknesses in his game. The Florida edge rusher uses a speed rush to try and beat Johnson around the corner. The rusher is able to get a step on Johnson and turn the corner, nevertheless Johnson’s long arms helps him keep contact with the rusher. He is able to still push the rusher just enough away from the quarterback to keep the pocket clean.
In the final play versus Louisville, Johnson is at a left tackle in a pass protection situation. This play shows how just his pure size and length makes it hard for rushers to turn the corner on the edge. The Louisville edge rusher decides to use a speed rush to try and win the edge against Johnson. Even with Johnson’s short shuffling steps and the rusher’s speed advantage, Johnson’s length wins the battle. The offensive tackle is able to reach and get a push on the rusher to just enough push him behind the quarterback. Johnson’s length makes the rusher have to go wider around the arc, which hurts his ability to reach the quarterback on time to disrupt the throw. Johnson’s length and size can help make up for some of his weaknesses. He has elite length for a left tackle. He also has the frame to add more weight without hurting his athleticism. He has the prototypical size and length that teams look for in their offensive tackles.
Run Blocking Power
Roderick Johnson has the ability to create holes in the running game with his size and power. Here are some examples of this prowess. In the first play against Ole Miss, Johnson is lined up at left tackle, right inside the tight end on the left end of the line. The Florida State run is designed to go right behind Johnson. Johnson fires off the snap and drives the defensive lineman back into the endzone, letting the lead blocker follow through the hole, giving the runner just enough space to get a touchdown. In the second play versus Louisville, Johnson is again at left tackle for this stretch run play to the right. This play shows his ability to completely take players out of the play. Johnson comes off the snap and goes to the right, engaging with the defensive lineman across from him. While moving with the rest of the line to the right, Johnson is able to push the defender with one hand for a while. The offensive tackle is then able to get both hands on the defender and completely pancake the defender when the runner was about to cut back to the left inside the hole. The pancake of the defender left the backside of the defense vulnerable to a cutback, allowing the big run.
In the last play versus Wake Forest, Johnson is at left tackle for this stretch run to the right. The mammoth tackle fires off the ball and gets his hands quickly on the defensive lineman in the inside of him. Once he does that, it is pretty much over for the defender. Johnson drives the defender back ten yards, taking him completely out of the play. Johnson has the ability to be a bulldozer in the run game. In my opinion, he has the talent to be an extra lineman in the run game right away for the Browns.
Roderick Johnson has impressive snap reaction and quickness of the snap for a man his size. Here are some examples of this strength. In the first play versus Florida, Johnson is at left tackle in pass protection situation. The Florida State tackle fires off the snap and is one of the first to be out of his stance. This allows him to be ready for the oncoming edge rusher, who tries to do a quick swipe move, but he is shut down because of Johnson’s advantage of being in position first. In the second play versus Wake Forest, Johnson is once again at left tackle in a pass protection situation. On this play, the tackle’s quick snap reaction allows him to be in position to stay in front of the edge rusher who is trying to do a speed rush around the corner. He beats the rusher out of his stance with the quick snap reaction. Had he had a bad get-off, Johnson would have been beaten on the edge by the rusher.
In the final play against North Carolina, Johnson is in a pass protection situation at left tackle. He is able to win the advantage of getting out of his stance before the rusher does. This allows him to be patient and allow the rusher to come to him, while also forcing the rusher to put on moves to get past him. Johnson is ready for the move the defender displays and keeps the rusher at bay for the entire play. With his size and length, his snap reaction and get-off make it even harder for defenders to get around him quickly. It is a good combination to have as an offensive tackle.
At his size at 6-foot-7, 298 pounds, Roderick Johnson has impressive athleticism for a man his size. The three plays above show this athleticism. In the first play versus Wake Forest, Johnson is lined up at left tackle in a pass protection situation. He comes off the snap initially helping to block the inside rusher. He then athletically shifts to the outside edge rusher, getting there quickly enough to thwart the rusher from getting to the quarterback. In the second play versus Wake Forest, Johnson is at left tackle for this stretch run play to the left. Though a penetrating linebacker coming through the interior of the line shuts down the play, Johnson shows off his athleticism. He is able to pull to the outside and keep the defensive lineman in front of him, blocking him on the move.
In the final play against North Carolina, Johnson is at left tackle for the run play. He is designed to pull to the left and lead block for the outside run play. He pulls to the left and leads the runner to the outside, showing off his athleticism. When he sees a defender in front of him, he is able to square him up and completely flatten him to the ground, which helps the runner continue down field. His athleticism is a very impressive attribute for Johnson to posses, especially for a player his size. This athleticism gives him the chance to possibly be a left tackle in the NFL.
The biggest issue in Roderick Johnson’s game is propensity to lean and not have good balance. These three plays illustrate this problem. In the first play versus Wake Forest, Johnson lines up at left tackle for the run play. He fires out of stance and tries to engage with the edge rusher at the line of scrimmage. Though, rather than engaging the defender with his entire body, Johnson lunges at the defender with just his upper body, leaving his lower base behind. This causes him to be pushed aside by the defender and fall to the ground. He lost his balance because he did not have a secure base to engage as a blocker. In the second play versus Ole Miss, Johnson is lined up at left tackle, alongside a tight end on his outside, for this passing play. The offensive tackle comes off the line and engages with the edge rusher. His problem starts because of his leaning on the blocker. He is leaning with his upper body to block the rusher, which allows the rusher to perform a swim move to get past him. When the defender makes the swim move, Johnson loses his balance because he is leaning rather than blocking with a strong base. The rusher is able to get away from Johnson’s grasps and get a free lane to the quarterback, while Johnson tries to recover.
In the final play versus Florida, Johnson is lined up at left tackle in the run play. The play is a designed run to the right. The left tackle comes off the snap and tries to engage with the inside defensive lineman. However, he leans too much to block the defender, causing him to fall off the block and lose his balance. This allows the defender to get past him. His balance is a huge issue because he is a waist bender due to his height. He needs to show a better base, so he can be more balanced as a blocker.
Feet/Pass Protection Drop Technique
The other major problem in Roderick Johnson’s game is his feet and pass protection drop technique. These three plays above illustrate this weakness. In the first play versus Florida, Johnson is lined up at left tackle in this pass protection situation. He fires off the snap with good get-off, gaining a quick advantage against the rusher. Though after that, the play goes downhill. First off, his feet are stiff, making small shuffles that make little ground. This causes him to rush his feet and have to quickly get back, so he doesn’t get back. This causes him to overstep and leave the inside open for a cutback by the rusher. The rusher does just that and rather than flowing back inside, Johnson stops his feet and tries to just lean to block the rusher. Johnson ends up having to trip the rusher, which is illegal. In the second play versus Wake Forest, Johnson is at left tackle in a passing situation. He, like the previous play, gets off the line quickly. He also does his ineffective short shuffle again. This time he tries to pre-determine the rusher’s move, turning more vertical to guard against getting beat on the outside. However, the rusher cuts inside, which is wide open because of Johnson’s bad positioning on the pass drop. The rusher has a clear lane to make a big hit on the quarterback.
In the final play against Louisville, Johnson is lined up at left tackle in the pass protection situation. He comes off the snap quickly like usual and once again uses the short shuffle to move back in his pass protection drop. This time his feet are the issue. Because of his short shuffling, he rushes back in his drop, dropping back too far and leaving the inside vulnerable to attack. The rusher fakes to go outside, which adds to Johnson’s propensity to protect the edge. So, the edge rusher cuts back inside, leaving Johnson off balance and the quarterback in his sights. Johnson needs to work on his feet. His short shuffling is a big problem to his game because it causes him to rush things because he cannot make up much ground with each step. His pass drop technique is a mess at times, allowing far too much inside penetration. This is a huge area the young tackle must work on before he can play in the NFL.