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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh

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Johnson isn’t the most well-known guard in the draft, but is he the best?

NCAA Football: Louisville at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been made of the New York Giants’ need to get better play from their tackle spots, however they also quietly have a need on the interior of their line as well.

John Jerry has been an acceptable right guard for the Giants; while not a great run blocker, he is a good pass protector. However, as a 30 year old free agent vying for cap space with younger and more pressing players like Jason Pierre-Paul and John Hankins. Without a clear successor for the position the Giants might be forced to look to the draft to fill the void.

In there they are in luck. While the offensive tackle class is lacking in depth compared to previous years. The guard class, however, is healthier and has several prospects competing for the top spot -- rather than being the “best” by default.

Pittsburgh Panthers guard Dorian Johnson is quietly in that competition.

Measurables

Pros

  • Great frame for his position. Has good size but carries his weight very well.
  • Good feet. A former tackle, Johnson can mirror in pass protection and can deal with speed.
  • A knee bender with a wide base, Johnson can anchor and re-anchor against bull rushes.
  • Looks comfortable in space. Works up to the second level well and is accurate with his blocks.
  • Creates movement in the run game.
  • Has the athleticism to play in a zone blocking scheme and enough power to play in a man/gap scheme.
  • Keeps his head on a swivel and looks for work.

Cons

  • Could stand to be more consistent in his blocks. Occasionally misses a block in space, or only gets a piece of his man
  • Needs to get better at sustaining his blocks.
  • Could stand to get stronger

Does He Fit With The Giants?

In a word: Yes.

While Johnson’s experience is at the left guard position, it doesn’t look like he would have a problem switching to play right guard for the Giants (he is, reportedly, a high IQ player). The Giants like to blend power and zone principles in their run game, particularly with their “pin and pull” inside zone runs.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - Not in Top 100 *note: oversight on my part as of this writing. He will be there in version 2.0

Mocking The Draft - N/A

CBS Sports - 46th overall

Draft Countdown - 55th overall

Draft Tek - 82nd overall

Final Thoughts

The Giants need to get better play from their offensive line. First and foremost, they need to get Eli Manning better protection and more time to find his receivers. But they also need (much) more from the running game.

It doesn’t take an expert to see that part of the Giants’ problems running the ball was their predictability. But with Weston Richburg’s size limitations (he is much better working in concert with another player or at the second level), John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse’s deficiencies, and Bobby Hart’s inexperience, they were very limited in the plays they could call. Ereck Flowers and Justin Pugh (before his knee injury) were easily the Giants’ best run blockers, but it wouldn’t take long for the league to catch on if they only called runs behind those two players. But even so, the fact that the Giants failed to open holes on the right side, and defensive adjustments such as keeping two safeties deep because of it, severely limited their offense.

Having a versatile and well-rounded guard like Johnson would allow them to run much more ambidextrously,and with a much more varied playbook. That would help out the passing game in addition to giving Manning more of a pocket in which to play.