Previous scouting reports: Zach Ertz
The Eagles tabbed Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson as Chip Kelly’s first-ever draft pick. Kelly acknowledges that Johnson is still raw, but is encouraged by his progress through two seasons as a starter and intrigued by his remarkable athleticism. The Eagles believe that Johnson has a higher upside than Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel. Here’s a full evaluation:
Johnson’s athleticism shows up big in pass protection. He gets good depth in his kick step and has the agility to mirror speed rushers. His recovery speed is so good that he almost never gets beat to the outside. His main concern is turning perpendicular to the line of scrimmage, leaving himself open to the inside move. He must stay more square to the line of scrimmage. Locks his long arms to keep pass rushers at bay. Not usually beaten by counter-moves. Holds his ground well against the bull rush. Has a good feel for pass protection and understands when to pass off defenders to the guard and pick up delayed blitzes. Susceptibility to inside moves is his only glaring weakness.
Inconsistent as an overall run blocker. Usually plays too high, making him more of a positional blocker than power blocker. When he plays with proper leverage, he can generate great push. Plays with a narrow base and slides off blocks too often. Finishes blocks when he can but does not lock on consistently. More than enough athleticism to play in a zone blocking scheme. Reaches the second level with ease and can steamroll LBs and DBs. Will lunge and whiff at defenders in space. Must play with better balance and a lower, wider base. Does not have a great feel for run blocking, and appears unsure of when to work to the next level. Plays with a nasty streak, wants to knock defenders down, and blocks to the whistle. Inexperience shows up in the run game more than the pass game.
Has ideal length at 6’6″ and has unprecedented speed and quickness for the position (4.72 second 40-yard-dash). In good shape and can play either tackle position in any scheme. Strength is average, but with good leverage, he can play with excellent power. Johnson is a world class athlete and would not be a top 5 pick without his quickness and agility.
Other (durability, character, etc.)
Banged up on a few occasions in 2012 but no lingering issues and started 11 games at left tackle. Very versatile. Has 12 starts at right tackle, played tight end and defensive end at Oklahoma and quarterback in junior college. Academic All-Big 12 first team in 2011 and 2012. By all accounts, a very motivated football player with no off-the-field concerns and a deep passion for the game.
Fit in Eagles system
Johnson fits what Chip Kelly looked for in his Oregon offensive linemen perfectly. He’s long, athletic, and in great physical condition. He has experience at both tackle positions and excelled in an up-tempo offense that employed a zone blocking scheme. His success at Oklahoma will translate to Philadelphia. He figures to start at right tackle, allowing Todd Herremans to solidify the right guard position. His addition solidifies the Eagles’ starting offensive line and provides insurance for Jason Peters in case he suffers a setback from his Achilles’ injury.
Johnson is Chip Kelly’s dream lineman, and Philadelphia is the perfect place for Johnson to reach his immense potential. While Johnson probably isn’t a top 5 pick based on game tape alone, he’s a great fit for the Eagles and will operate in a system that will emphasize his strengths. Considering that the Eagles desperately needed another offensive lineman, Johnson was worth the risk with the 4th overall pick. For Johnson to validate his lofty draft status, he will have to improve his pad level and technique in the run game, which will likely become key to the Eagles’ offensive production.
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