I laughed hard after seeing Tony Gonzalez's pre-game Ron Burgundy impression. In 2012, could Mike Johnson do a copycat impression when the starting roster is announced before a national game?
If you’ve watched SEC football the past few years then you’ve probably heard of offensive lineman Mike Johnson. A solid pass protector and run blocker, Johnson’s play on the field led to him becoming a two time All-American at Alabama. Atlanta ultimately drafted the talented lineman in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft. When Harvey Dahl was lost to free agency many people (including myself) figured Johnson would step in and lock down the RG spot immediately. However, a concussion early in training camp and a season ending foot injury eliminated that plan. 2011 saw Atlanta’s OL struggle mightily, find some consistency, then struggle again. Atlanta will almost certainly be looking to beef up the OL in free agency and the draft. Guys like Carl Nicks and Ben Grubbs will be available during free agency but are expected to get hefty contracts. If Atlanta is unable to sign a stud guard in FA or decides to spend FA money on other needs, could they go into 2012 with Mike Johnson as the starting RG? Take the jump with me to see why Mike Johnson could be our guy at RG.
Johnson certainly has the talent to be a stud RG. Guys don’t become two time All-Americans by accident. At Alabama, he was a beast who consistently kept tenacious pass rushers at bay and opened huge holes for Mark Ingram. Nothing in his past suggests that he won't do the same thing in the NFL. I’m no Bama fan but his play on the field spoke for itself. Naysayers will point to the fact that he couldn’t beat out Garrett Reynolds in training camp but lets not forget Svitek's story. Svitek showed next to nothing in practices but was a solid LT during the actual games. Also, 2011 had a shortened training camp and Garrett Reynolds already had a year of experience under his belt. Its also obvious Reynolds practices better than he plays. Considering how bad the OL looked last year, it would be a huge gamble rolling with Johnson but if Atlanta can’t sign Nicks or Grubbs could they really find much better in the draft? I’d leap for joy if ATL landed Nicks or Grubbs but I have a feeling Mike Johnson will step up and get the job done if ATL decides to roll with him in 2012.