Following a dismal 4-12 season in 2012, the Philadelphia Eagles were aggressive in the off season, signing many players to upgrade their roster.
Still, there was no question entering the 2013 NFL draft that the Philadelphia Eagles had many holes to fill. Drafting offensive tackle Lane Johnson out of the University of Oklahoma with the fourth pick overall in the draft immediately fills an important need in the Chip Kelly offensive scheme.
Lane Johnson came out of high school as a Texas All-State quarterback. He was a red shirt freshman with the Oklahoma Sooners in 2009 and played tight end and defensive tackle in 2010. He was converted to an offensive tackle in 2011 and played both left and right tackle during his final 2 seasons at Oklahoma.
Johnson has good physical size at 6 feet 6 inches and 304 pounds, and has good quickness and athleticism that is key to running Chip Kelly’s high-paced, innovative offense. One weakness is that Johnson has only minimal experience as an offensive linemen, so he must continue to work hard, learn techniques, and add strength. As a tall linemen, he may have leverage issues against more experienced NFL linemen. But all reports are that Johnson has a great work ethic and attitude, which are keys to success.
Chip Kelly feels that Lane Johnson had more upside than any other offensive tackle in the NFL draft, and although this pick might not have the flair of taking a big-time quarterback or other skilled position player, it appears to be the best for this team at this time. Johnson should be the starter at right tackle, which would move veteran Todd Herremans to right guard. The Eagles’ offensive line is solidified on the other side at left tackle with the return of perennial Pro Bowler Jason Peters. The rest of the line is made up of Danny Wadkins, Dennis Kelly and center Jason Kelce.
Basically, the Eagles drafting Lane Johnson solved two problems, right tackle and right guard. Herremans at right tackle left right guard a weakness and although Herremans is adequate at tackle, he’s much better as a guard.
All told, the pick of Johnson must be deemed a success. An athletic, solid offensive line is key to running the Chip Kelly offense. So it is not surprising that the Eagles addressed that important need by drafting one of the best offensive tackles available in the 2013 NFL draft. Time will tell how everything plays out for the Eagles new regime under Chip Kelly, but his first ever draft pick appears to be a huge step in the right direction.