Lane Johnson to Eagles: How Does OT Fit in with Philadelphia?

Bryn SwartzSenior Writer IIIApril 25, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25:  Lane Johnson of the Oklahoma Sooners stands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) as they hold up a jersey on stage after Johnson was picked #4 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

With the second pick in the 1999 draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb, allowing Andy Reid's tenure in Philly to begin with the best quarterback in franchise history.

With the fourth pick in the 2013 draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Oklahoma quarterback Lane Johnson, as new head coach Chip Kelly looks to emulate Reid's success.

Johnson was widely considered the third-best offensive tackle prospect in the draft, but he is considered to be a tremendous fit for Kelly's offense thanks to his exceptional athletic ability.

Johnson, in fact, is so athletic that he begin his junior college career as a quarterback, switching to tight end and defensive end before settling in as one of the best offensive lineman in the nation.

According to Jimmy Kempski, there have been 343 offensive tackles to compete at the NFL Scouting Combine since 1999. Johnson ranks first in the broad jump and second in the 40-yard dash. It's not just speed too, as his 28 reps at the bench press rank him in the top one-fifth. 

He is projected to open the 2013 season for the Eagles at right tackle, which will give the Eagles an offensive line of Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Herremans and Johnson. That's a major improvement over last year's disaster, when Peters, Kelce and Herremans missed a combined 38 games with injuries, and right guard Danny Watkins sealed his fate as a first-round bust. 

Kelly is expected to utilize a heavy run-first offense for the Eagles behind the dynamic duo of LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, making the pick of Johnson all the more valuable to an Eagles team that scored just 280 points in 2012, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. 

The rebuilding of the Eagles is far from complete, as the team still doesn't know who will be its quarterback in 2013. But whether it's veteran Michael Vick, last year's rookie Nick Foles, a Day 2 draft pick or even former University of Oregon standout Dennis Dixon, he can rest easy that he'll have a pretty good offensive line protecting him.