Steelers Rookie Profile: Wesley Johnson

NCAA Football: Georgia at VanderbiltFor the first time that I can really remember the Steelers were going into a draft without having a big needs all along the offensive line.

Not only are the Steelers set across the line as far as their starting line but they have some solid backup options like Mike Adams (assuming Gilbert starts) and Cody Wallace.

That being said, I expected the Steelers to probably grab a late round project somewhere along to OL, if nothing else to give Mike Munchak someone that is one of “his guys.”

I’ll admit I didn’t pay much attention to offensive lineman in the pre-draft process, but have done some research since taking Johnson, and I came away really impressed.

Immediately when watching Wesley I thought, that’s Kelvin Beachum.

I’m not sure if people have noticed in my write ups yet but I have a huge fan crush on Beachum, so that’s high praise coming from me.

Wesley Johnson has a lot of the intangibles you want.

I talked about how run defense is a priority for Steelers cornerbacks yesterday… Well with offensive lineman it’s versatility. Johnson’s played all 5 spots along the line, settling at LT to end his career at Vandy.

Johnson has great durability, starting a record 51 games at Vanderbilt.

He’s not really strong enough to have what I’d call a “mean streak” but he definitely is a high effort player; never stopping until the whistle blows.

The selection of Johnson shows me that the zone scheme is here to stay. He’s a perfect fit for it with great technique and athleticism.

The biggest issue he had in college was actually keeping weight on. He’s obviously not a natural 300 pound┬ákid. As a result he also struggled against bigger ends that could bull rush him.

Most analysts say that because of that he may be a more natural fit at center or guard. The word is he’s very smart, which is important for a center… but at 6’6″ that’s a pretty big center in my opinion.

Almost all of  these things were said about Beachum, but Johnson has seen better competition in his career; even having a pretty solid outing against Jadaveon Clowney in 2013.

With Kevlin Beachum becoming more important to the offensive line in the starting lineup I see Wesley Johnson filling his old role as a backup really everywhere.

If the Steelers would like to continue something we saw last year, which is a tackle coming in and playing TE for the added blocking… Wesley Johnson would be a perfect fit for that in the short term.

This was a pick that originally was pretty lukewarm on, but the more I’ve looked into I think he could be a really valuable piece of the puzzle even if he’s not a starter.

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One comment on “Steelers Rookie Profile: Wesley Johnson

  1. I agree with your comments. The other day I watched the film of Johnson vs Clowney. (Not the youtube highlite stuff where every player looks like a hall of famer) but the film of EVERY snap in that game. He pretty much flat out dominated Clowney, so much so that by the second half, they flipped Clowney over to the other side to avoid Johnson most of the second half. With some added stength, and working with coach Munchak in the zone stretch system, I think the Steelers have a valuable back that can dress on games days because of his versatility. Very good value where he was picked!

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