Eagles Select Lane Johnson With No. 4 Pick

By the early look of things, all three of the elite tackle prospects were going to be off the board before the Eagles even got on the clock. Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel went 1 and 2, and the O-line needy Dolphins traded into the third slot, presumably to land Lane Johnson. Instead, they grabbed Chip Kelly‘s old student, Dion Jordan. 

They would have a chance to land a tackle after all.

“We thought he was the most athletic tackle we’ve seen,” said Kelly of his first draft pick as Eagles head coach. “He has a huge upside. He hasn’t played a ton of offensive tackle but he has played the right side and the left side so he has experience at both sides.

“The game is won up front. He’s a tough, physical guy and that’s what I think we were looking for as we went into this draft. It’s an exciting thing when you can target people and get what you’re looking for.”

Kelly said that the three tackles and Jordan were the top four players on their board. As it turned out, those prospects went 1-4. In Johnson, they get an intriguing athlete that has more question marks than Fisher and Joeckel because of his lack of experience. But Johnson believes he is ready to start right away.

“I think I am. Yes sir,” he said.

As far as whether he has a preference of playing on the right or left side, he said, “I really don’t care. I’m trying to be as balanced as possible. Whatever coach Kelly and [the team]  needs, I’m going to do it.”

If Johnson is capable of playing early on he could man the right tackle post, kicking Todd Herremans inside.

The 6-6, 303-pounder played quarterback in high school and didn’t draw much recruiting attention, eventually landing at Kilgore (junior) College. But Johnson kept filling out his frame and was moved to tight end in the spring. By that time, he had bulked up from 220 pounds to 255.

Oklahoma offered him a scholarship, and Johnson red-shirted in 2009 as a tight end. He kept putting on weight and was now up to 270. The coaching staff decided another position switch was in order, moving him to defensive end.

But that wasn’t the end of it. The Sooners suffered an injury on their offensive line, and Bob Stoops asked Johnson if he wanted to give tackle a shot.

“I kind of asked him. I said, ‘Come on, Lane.’ He was a big d-end, we loved him there to be honest with you,” said Stoops. “But I could tell. I said, ‘Big Lane you’re 270 and I can tell you could be more. How are you managing it at 270 playing d-end?’

“I asked our strength coach, what will it take for him to be 300 pounds? He said, ‘Only a couple weeks and a cheeseburger.’ Sure enough, that’s what happened.”

Stoops said they knew after two practices that he had found his home. Johnson played right tackle as a junior and left tackle as a senior.

“I think he is ready, but he is raw,” said Kelly. “And it’s a draft of raw guys. Luke Joeckel is a three-year player…It just seems that’s how this draft fell out. We look at raw as a positive, not a negative because if he’s doing what he’s doing now and he has only played really two years on the offensive line…just what the upside is. We felt his ceiling was probably the highest. That’s the intriguing thing.”

Johnson shot up mock drafts after excelling during the pre-draft process.  Adam Caplan said he’s never seen a more dominant performance at the Senior Bowl.

A look at Johnson in action below.

Sheil Kapadia contributed to this story.

  • Caveman

    Hope he doesn’t turn out to be a Combine warrior but game day bust.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      He’s no Ziggy Ansah. He’s got tape.

  • hnic101nj

    I like it…keep Vick clean!

    • dislikedisqus

      If they release Vick, your wishes will come true.

  • DearGod

    Thanks you. Please maybe GEagle, gEagle, G, etc…will STFU!!!

    • Gobirds1

      Agreed. That guy needs a friend, get laid or both.

      • theycallmerob

        well shit, who doesn’t need to get laid?

        • cliff henny

          • theycallmerob

            happy draft night, sir.
            well done.

          • cliff henny

            classics never die. u2. buddy brought over guinnesses, so no miller lites

    • Mr. Wu

      Hahaha

    • Mel Kiper’s Hair

      What?! You don’t like 20 line paragraphs typed in a stream of consciousness? Filled with subtle and blatant insults about how he knows EVERYTHING?! Oh yeah, can’t forget the occasional all caps.

      • GFeable

        And I thought I was alone with that thinking…lol.

    • Bebin Abraham

      We’re thankful he’s not on Bleeding Green anymore. Unfortunately he’s on here and Tommy Lawlor’s blog.

    • G

      You’re an idiot lol I barely comment and when I do its a quick sentence or two you stupid ignorant dummy

  • thefadd

    Vegas and I were right — and thank god — best player in the draft! Lock up the OT position for the next decade!! Heremans goes back to being “the best offensive guard in football.” Playing with him and Peters, the kid will learn well. Johnson-Peters the sickest bookend tackle duo in the league!!

    • theycallmerob

      I believe Evan Mathis would like to have a word with you about that B.O.G. designation

  • scrapplejoe

    Smart pick…. Now move up and get DJ Hayden!

  • cliff henny

    as soon as the eagles were on the clock, all my normal rational went right out the window and all i thought was ‘anyone but geno, please god, not geno’

    • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

      Lol agreed

    • Tom w

      Me too cuz

    • Run Eagles Run

      “lane or trade down” was my motto, with some “we already have a Geno’s”

    • Richard Colton

      yep

    • GEagle

      Tell you the truth..at 4, Geno didn’t even cross my mind last night…with Dion off the board, I honestly believe that Lane was the only player we could have taken at 4….Next best thing would have been to trade back to 7 and take Cooper…

      Can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Browns impress me…Holy hell man…they got Kruger, Mingo and Daqwell Jackson who is a beast…they got some serious backers…

      the winner of the night was Jarvis Jones…the loser was the Jets and Nassib

  • Cyrus Robinson

    Cliff, I felt the same way. I was feeling happy and excited until I saw Goodell walk up to the podium. Then the thought crept into my mind: “What if it’s Geno?”
    I suddenly became nervous. I were a lesser man, I would say I almost panicked. I didn’t though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

    Don’t go to bed early think we may trade back into the first round.

  • cliff henny

    fellows, its been 15 years…but…we’re going to be RUNNING THE F’N BALL!!!!! rest up shady and bryce, 20+ carries each

    • bsn

      Yaaaaaaay, we’re going to be running in a league that is almost begging you to pass. Should it have been a bigger part of AR’s usage, sure. Should we be running it 40+ times? Eeehhhhhh.

      • BrickSquadMonopoly

        quit this passing nonsense we gonna run so much with shady and bryce best o line in the nfl best RB (next year) in the nfl all vick gonna have to do is manage the game

        • bsn

          I can’t take anyone seriously when they think any RB is better than AP right now.

      • cliff henny

        kelly ran it over 60% of the time in Oregon. even if he drops that down some, with his style, play every 12 secs, be plenty of passes. balance and big plays off play action.

        • bsn

          We really have to stop assuming that we know what kind of offense Chip is gonna run. He might end up finding out that the players on this team possibly can’t do 1 play every 12 seconds.

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        You actually want Vick throwing the ball?

        • bsn

          Do I want Vick throwing it? No. Do I want to run the ball so much that we’re depending on our defense to stop people from scoring more than 14-17 a game? Nope. That’s what’s gonna be needed if we run it that much.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            Lol I’m not even sure what you’re talking about anymore. Do you actually think we’re going to be running 40+ times, every game, no matter what the circumstances? You’re talking as if we’re going to run 40 times and pass 10.

            No. More like it’s going to about a 60% run, 40% pass offense. Which is exactly what you want when you have 2 great running backs and a quarterback with poor decision making skills. The only way you’re going to see 40+ running back carries is if it’s working extremely well or we’re at around the 80 offensive snap, which means we’ve still had about 40 pass attempts. More than enough to score points in the air.

            Not to mention, what exactly has given you confidence that our passing offense is going to score any more than our running? Have you seen Vick play the last two years?

      • xlGmanlx

        Yes sir, especially when Chip probably wants to run 70-80 plays a game.

  • knighn

    At what point in the night does Geno Smith start channeling Tom Petty?
    “Now I’m Free… Free Falling”

  • Tom w

    Looks like The raiders took way way less than they should have to trade down … Making it impossible for eagles to trade down w dolphins instead. I guess we could’ve taken 54 from dolphins but to drop 8 spots and probably get Starr would’ve been risky. Also never know if 2 teams were trying to trade w raiders or 3 bc they were willing to take so little

    • Phils Goodman

      I wonder if a trade down with the Chargers would have been possible.

  • Tom w

    Safe pick w upside. U get better at 2 positions. And Johnson had a hot gf!

  • Emmanuel Garcia

    Is this a move to replace Jason Peters or the made this move so Herremans can go back to G?

    • cliff henny

      hopefully both, herremans to G for 3 yrs, then slide over to LT.

  • cliff henny

    thank you Buffalo, now someone take geno

  • knighn

    How long before Kevin Kolb is out of a job again?

  • Token

    Just dont get the pick. The third best tackle at pick #4 in the draft. Just nutty. A guy who will make no difference next year. A guy who will play RT picked at #4. The combine workout warrior of the draft. Shot up the boards after the combine.

    I think this is the beginning of the end for Howie. Which is the good news.

    Side note: I didnt know until watching the broadcast that Dion Jordan only play liked 40% of snaps this year. lol. At least they dodged that bullet. However, Chip said the OTs and Jordan were their top 4 players. Prolly not a good sign.

    • Richard Colton

      go cheer for the Giants. you don’t like this pick but can’t point to one NFL expert who will rip the pick.
      was it a reach? nope
      best player available? yep
      fills a need? yep

      • Token

        lol go cheer for the Giants. Nice. This isnt one of those sites where everyone has to fluff every move the Eagles make is it?

        My biggest question remains, why do people go out of the way to fluff this team and Howie Roseman every move they make? What have they ever done? Ever? What in their track record shows you this is such a great decision?

        Im going to go out on a limb and guess you loved the Danny Watkins pick, because hey…. all the experts loved it. Geesh.

        Taking a guy who will play right tackle at #4 is absolutely moronic IMO. The third best player at their position at the #4 pick in the draft. Has that ever happened before?

        • Cyrus Robinson

          If it’s so crazy, why did 2 other NFL teams with staff members doing research around the clock for months that know much more about football than any of us here also pick tackles before the Eagles? If you’re stuck on the LT versus RT issue, also remember Vick is left handed, making the RT his blindside protector. Johnson will also replace Peters at LT eventually. I’m glad Johnson will get to learn from Peters because he’ll see how a freakish athlete who is polished plays the tackle position.

          Had the Eagles picked (for example) Geno Smith, almost everybody here would be sulking and saying it was a dumb move. However, since the Eagles made a good pick, there are positive comments. We’re not drinking the Kool-Aid, just being objective and grateful for a good draft so far.

          • Token

            Vick is here one year at very best.

            Im not irate with the move. Not like I would be if they picked Geno there. I simply disagree with it.

            If hes replacing Peters after next year, than trade Peters right now for whatever you can get. Why wait?

            I agree with people that the line is old and needs upgraded. But I disagree with how its being done.

            I just cant get too excited about getting the 3rd best player at their position with the 4th pick in the draft. Just think about that for a minute. Let alone a guy who just started playing the line 2 years ago. Arent people tired of taking these guys who just started playing their position?

            Even Kelly said he is raw and needs work. Just dont think thats what you take at the #4 pick. Not when the defense is in the shape its in. Not when your healthy line isnt that bad to begin with. Not when your making the guy play RT.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            Said it from the beginning and I’ll say it again: It would not surprise me one bit if Chip decides to make this draft about his offense. I can very easily see a TE in the second round. It’s a lot easier for him bring in his offense, focus on that, and give the defense another year to see where the pieces fall with players changing schemes, coming off injuries etc. Let the dust of the 3-4 switch settle before you go balls deep on it in the draft.

            It’s no secret it’s going to take a season or two for the roster transformation to complete. There’s just no way Chip can make this his team with 1 draft and 1 free agency. It’s been stated several times by NFL experts that Lane has the highest ceiling, with his freakish athletic abilities he can be the best out of these 3 tackles. He’ll start this year, and hopefully come into Pro Bowl form year or two down the road when the transformation from Andys team to Chips team really shapes up.

            Why wait to trade Peters? He has no value right now. He’s coming off a ruptured achilles. Why not let him play this year, let him show the league he can still play, and then try and trade him next offseason. He’ll be a year older, but if he comes back anywhere near he was pre injury then his value will be higher than it is right now.

            Also, with this move you’re upgrade the RG and the RT position by moving Herremans over and taking Watkins off the field.

            Not to mention the most important fact of all: We had absolutely zero contingency plan at LT if Peters was to get hurt again. If he’s hurt, this way you can put Johnson there and keep Watkins/Herremans on the right side, or even Herremans/Kelly if Chip liked him.

            Can’t see anyone who was a clear better choice at 4. No one was calling to trade back after Miami moved up.

          • Token

            Yea I could see the focus on offense. But then they are setting yet another DC up for failure arent they?

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            I wouldn’t think so but who knows… I think he gets a bit of a longer leash switching schemes and dealing with leftovers. Especially if Chip basically comes to him and says, “hey buddy, this draft is mine but I’ll give you some pieces next year”.

        • Richard Colton

          if you’re going to throw out clueless nonsense, at least make it pro-Eagles. You’re amazing. The Danny Watkins pick was met with tepid reaction. He was a 1st round 26 year old guard. Can’t even believe you would compare the two.

          you wanted a certain pick and didn’t get your way. so now everyone in the FO is an idiot? #4 on an O-lineman who starts right away and projects as our LT of the future? A position of need that was also on everyone’s top 6 players of the 2013 draft? You’re the only person moaning about this pick. Quit acting like a girl because you didn’t get Manti Te’o or whoever you wanted.

          Has that ever happened before? Yeah – with the Eagles. We took the third rated player at his position with the 2nd pick in 1999.

        • MAC

          Your spinning that pretty good. Listen saying he is 3rd best player at his position leaves out the fact that he was rated in top 5 best players in the draft by most. So being 3rd best at his position has not bearing when he is still in conversation at that point as best player available. I am curious who you would have wanted there since Jordan was gone?

    • Phils Goodman

      I don’t understand why you would reference boards that no one ever sees. The public mocks are not team evaluations. Lane Johnson’s name wasn’t out there during the year because he was a convert in his first year at a trench position. To target a first-year Big XII LT at the top of the first round early in the process you would have to be way deep into the nitty-gritty of college football — like an amateur scout is.

      A team’s evaluation process doesn’t unfold in the same way as Joe Fan’s. You’re thinking through this backwards.

      • cliff henny

        right? seems eagles board would be pretty similar to everyone’s board in 1-4. token could be dying of hunger in the desert, jesus christ could show up and turn a stone into loaf of bread, and if JC was wearing an eagles jersey, he’d complain about the type of bread

  • DunedinEagle

    Johnson is a player by all accounts but the defense didn’t get any better. Too bad Watkins, the guy Howie had nothing to do with, pretty much dictated this pick. If he didn’t suck so bad perhaps one of the D studs/Pro Bowl/Hall of Famers selected after pick 4 last night could be suiting up for the Birds the next ten years. I wouldn’t bitch but that Howie guy still remains…

  • barry_nic

    Finally the Eagles pick the pick they were supposed to! I hope this kid plays for us at a high level for a real long time. There are a lot of safeties left on the board, and that would be a nice addition and possibility, (sorry Cliff) a QB to replace Vick, There are sooo many players for the next six rounds I think they will not do what Buffalo did. Go Eagles!