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Titans Target, Land Penn State DL Austin Johnson

Posted Apr 29, 2016

The Titans selected Penn State DT Austin Johnson with the 43rd pick in the second round.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Penn State defensive lineman Austin Johnson spent some time with Titans defensive line coach Nick Eason at the NFL Combine, and got good vibes.

Later, during the pre-draft process, he made a visit to Tennessee, and talked to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

On Friday night, Johnson found out just how much the Titans liked him.

The Titans selected Johnson in the second round (43rd overall) in Friday’s NFL Draft.

Johnson (6-4, 314) racked up 154 tackles and 24 tackles for a loss in three seasons at Penn State. He had 78 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks in 2015.

“We’ve targeted Austin for a while there,’’ Titans general manager Jon Robinson said. “He can play nose, he can play five technique, he can play three technique.

“There is a lot of versatility along the defensive line with him. He’s got some quickness -- he’s actually got some ability to shoot gaps and win on third down situations too as a sub rush.”

Johnson was a two-year starter at Penn State, where he proved to be durable – he started 26 games over the past two seasons – and dependable. He doesn’t mind doing the dirty work.

Johnson said himself he “can play a lot of positions.”

He watched the draft with Titans defensive lineman DaQuan Jones, his former teammate at Penn State.

“Being a competitor, all of us want to go first round and stuff like that,’’ Johnson said. “You hear stuff, but those things never really end up going like they’re supposed to.

“I’m a guy who is going to grind, going to work hard and do whatever he can to get on the field and make an impact as quick as I can and help the team to get some wins.”