Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson is the newest bird in the Philadelphia Eagles’ nest. Chip Kelly’s first draft pick as Eagles head coach should be a staple on the offensive line for the next decade.
I guess the odds-makers were correct this time, some online betting site offered good odds on Eagles taking Johnson with the fourth overall pick. Johnson started picking up steam as the Eagles’ pick on NFL.com and ESPN.com also.
Johnson, 6′ 6″ 303 lbs, is the most athletic OT in the draft and was the third ranked tackle by virtually all draft analysts. Speculation heated up this past week that he might actually be the pick at No. 4.
Of course, many people in Philly viewed that as a possible smokescreen in order to drum-up interest for a trade. However, that proved to not be the case.
It would have been very interesting had Dion Jordan still been on the board and they would have had to choose between he and Johnson. I’ll admit, I wanted Jordan and preferred him over anyone else as a first round pick.
But, no use crying over spilled milk. All I have to do is think back at how bad our offensive line was last year. Injuries took its toll, but damn, our OL was brutal.
Johnson is billed as being the best actual fit for Chip Kelly’s offense as far as offensive tackles are concerned, even more-so than Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel. So, it’s within reason that the Eagles would have selected Johnson over either Fisher or Joeckel if one of them was on the board as well.
Here are Johnson’s eye-popping combine and workout numbers:
4.72 40-time (official time varies from 4.67 to 4.74 so I went in the middle…but…wow!)
34″ vertical leap
9′ 10″ broad jump
4.52 20-yard shuttle
28 reps of 225 lbs
Mike Mayock said his 40 time was faster than Anquan Boldin’s and his vertical jump was the same as A.J. Green. And, he’s a 303 lbs offensive tackle, right?
Here’s his scouting report via Dane Brugler at NFLDraftScout.com:
STRENGTHS: Johnson looks the part with a large frame and long arms (35″). He has quick feet to mirror and has an effortless kick-slide. Explosive off the snap and sets up quickly, using his extremely wide base to cover a large area. He digs his cleats in the turf and lowers his butt in pass protection with the strong upper body to control defenders.
Johnson does a nice job using his length to keep rushers at bay and uses his physical limbs to eliminate defenders with his nasty attitude. He has large, powerful hands and usually keeps his hands inside. Natural bender with flexible joints, contorting his frame and selling out for blocks. He locks out and seals defenders on the edge, doing a nice job engaging in space to create run lanes.
Has the competitive drive that scouts want for the position and the upside to continue to develop at the position
WEAKNESSES: Room to pack on some more muscle to his frame and strengthen his anchor. He will play undisciplined at times and overextend himself in space, caught hunched at the wait too often. Gets in trouble when he stops his feet and his technique needs refinement. He needs to keep his feet underneath him to better sustain and not fall off blocks.
Johnson needs to keep his eyes elevated in the run game and improve his blocking angles. He plays a tad mechanical and his hand placement can get sloppy at times. He has only played on the offensive line for two seasons and is still rough around the edges at times.
Love the “nasty attitude” statement! I also wouldn’t read too much into his weakness, he’ll be coached-up by Jeff Stoutland to hone his craft. After all, Johnson has only played OT for two years.
Johnson was a quarterback that converted to tight end and then finally offensive tackle. He played RT his junior year and LT his senior year. Therefore, he still has some learning to do, but his athletic skills are off the charts for a lineman.
Here is what Chip Kelly had to say after making his first professional draft pick:
“Awesome, We felt he was the most athletic tackle we’ve seen,” Kelly said. “He has a huge upside, a very big ceiling. He’s versatile,” Kelly said. “I think he’s ready, but he’s raw.”
“He has an unbelievable work ethic,” Kelly said. “He lives and dies football. He loves playing football. He’s a real selfless guy who loves to play the game and doesn’t care where he plays.”
“We need athletic linemen,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t matter when we’re snapping the ball or whether we’re in a no-huddle or huddle.”
There’s that word “versatile” again. Kelly loves versatile players so I’m sure his draft will be full of them.
While I was disappointed we didn’t get Dion Jordan, I’m happy and content with Johnson. At least offensive tackle is the safest position to draft when you’re selecting that high so his bust probability is much lower than all other positions.
If you still don’t like the pick, I’ll close by asking you to remember Demetress Bell and King Dunlap as our starting tackles.
Man, that makes me like this pick even more!