The Eagles got one of the four players, Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson, that they considered to be head and shoulders above the crowd. They had Johnson rated on the same level of Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Dion Jordan, who were the players drafted before him.
“I don’t know what Miami thinks and I don’t answer hypotheticals,” Kelly said when asked about his first round selection. “We had four guys we felt real comfortable with. We saw the draft the same way the other teams saw the draft. We were 1-2-3-4 and it went 1-2-3-4.”
Unlike Fisher and Joeckel, who were drafted ahead of Johnson, he hasn’t been playing the offensive tackle position very long. He’s only started 23 games as an offensive tackle in college. He will need to be developed.
“I think he is ready, but he is raw,” Chip Kelly said. “We look as raw as a positive not a negative. If he’s doing what he’s doing right now, and he’s only played like two years on the offensive line . . . We felt that his ceiling is probably the highest.”
“He’s got some technical things he needs to work on,” Kelly said. “He’s only played the position for two years. The little nuances of the position – hand placement, things like that.”
Johnson is an athletic freak of sorts. His combination of size, speed, agility and quickness is extraordinary. He was a high school quarterback and like Jason Peters, the offensive tackle on the other side of the Eagles line, Johnson was a tight end prior to moving to tackle. He and Peters are without a doubt the fastest pair of offensive tackles to ever play in the NFL.
Johnson stands 6’6″ and weighs 303 pounds. His arm length is 35 1/4″. He ran a speedy 4.72 forty-yard dash. The big guy did 28 repetitions on the bench press. HIs vertical jump was 34″, which is astounding for a man weighing over 300 pounds. and his broad jump was 9′ 10″. Johnson showed he had the best agility of the offensive tackles at the combine by doing the 3-cone drill in 7.31 seconds and the 20-yard shuttles in 4.52 seconds.
New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was a big proponent of the wide receiver screen in college and we’re probably going to see the Eagles run quite a few of them during the season. Johnson and Peters will be able to use their speed to get outside and in front of the team’s wide receivers. They’re both athletic enough to pick off linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks in the open field.
Johnson will get the chance to use his power and foot quickness when the Birds execute the zone run-blocking scheme which Kelly loves. Of course the Birds hope the selection of Johnson will help them solidify their offensive line going forward.