LSU Tiger’s defensive tackle, Anthony Johnson entered this season with the expectations that he’d be the program’s next great defensive lineman and five games in he has shown the talent and potential to live up to the lofty expectations thrust upon him.
Despite LSU losing to Georgia on Saturday and giving up a lot of points and rushing yards, the 6-3, 304-pound Johnson made some splashy plays including an interception of Aaron Murray that led to an LSU touchdown and this week cracked NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper’s latest Big Board at No. 24.
Gif Courtesy: Clay Wendler-SB Nation
Conversely, Kiper’s colleague at ESPN, Todd McShay and the rest of the team from Scouts Inc has Johnson at No. 16 on their latest rankings. Johnson has previously been unranked on the list that lists the top 25 prospects according to Kiper who has covered the NFL draft for ESPN since 1984.
Johnson checked in as the No. 3 defensive tackle on Kiper’s list behind Louis Nix III from Notre Dame who sits at No. 5 and Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan at No. 13.
Here is what Kiper had to say about Johnson:
“Johnson even showed off his hands with an interception against Georgia on Saturday. He is a tough guy to block up front because he beat blockers with quickness off the snap, and he can disengage with a good punch and his strong hands. His problems arise when he doesn’t gain an initial advantage and must use his hands and feet to get off blocks. Needs to watch tape of Ndamukong Suh and learn to stay relentless.”
Suh is not a bad player to try and emulate as far as his relentless as Suh was one of the best interior lineman in the past decade. It’s been expected Johnson would test the draft waters after this season and based on Kiper’s projection that would be a wise decision as he’d likely be a solid first round pick.
I’ll be watching to see how he improves the rest of the season playing next to Ego Ferguson who could find himself on Kiper’s list in the coming weeks as well.