Whether the Bengals go wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback or another position in the first round, this year's draft class is deep enough at defensive tackle that Cincinnati could wait until the second round to select a high-quality defensive tackle. Austin Johnson could be one of a few players who could shore up the Bengals' run defense, which has struggled in past playoff games.
Weight: 314 lbs
Arm length: 32 3/4
Hands: 9 7/8
College: Penn State
Class: Redshirt junior
40 dash: 5.32
Bench press: 25 reps
Vert jump: 26.0"
Broad jump: 99.0"
3 cone: 7.84
20 yard shuttle: 4.75
Johnson compared to other defensive tackles, per Mock Draftable
Johnson and his teammate, defensive end Carl Nassib, have gone under the radar, but both players appear to be second-round prospects. Johnson may go overshadowed in a loaded defensive tackle class, but he is a great run-stuffing nose tackle whose play style suggests he'd be a great fit in Cincinnati's 4-3 defense.
Scouting Report Consensus - What to like
- Great size for a pure nose tackle
- Great nose for the ball, rare tackle production
- Huge motor, doesn't give up against double-teams
- Good pursuit for a nose tackle
- Effort can't be understated; extremely hard worker
Scouting Report Consensus - What not to like
- Struggles with pad level
- More of a run-stuffer than a pass-rusher
- Needs to extend arms, use his hands more
- Doesn't have desired length of a nose tackle
- Needs to try to win matchups rather than hold ground
If the Bengals elect to take a defensive tackle in the second round, Johnson would almost surely remain on the board. He may not have the flashy production or measurables like other defensive tackle prospects, but he has a work ethic that will be hard to match. The knock on Johnson's lack of a pass-rushing ability isn't false, but the Bengals don't typically rely on their nose tackles to tally big sack numbers.
If Johnson were on the board in the second round, I'd certainly give him strong consideration. Like Peko, he's a high energy, high motor guy who proves that measurables aren't always the most important aspect to a player's game. Johnson has plenty of room for improvement, but I really like him as a second-round prospect.