Lane Johnson, as a rookie, could prove to be one of the most important players for the Philadelphia Eagles this upcoming season. If the quarterback battle plays out the way most analysts and pundits think it will, then the big athletic kid from Oklahoma will be protecting Michael Vick‘s blindside in Week 1 on Monday Night Football against the Washington Redskins.
Johnson, who started training camp on the second team behind fellow tackle Dennis Kelly but moved his way up to the first team by the time mini camp and OTA’s broke until late July, certainly has the requisite skills to get the job done protecting the quarterback.
He is as athletic as they come for a big man, breaking records for linemen at the combine in the 40-yard dash and vertical jump. Johnson also plays with a real mean streak and doesn’t stop until the whistle blows.
However, he is relatively new to the position. He was converted from tight end then defensive line because the Sooners had a desperate need along the offensive line. He has only been playing offensive line for two seasons which makes Johnson a very raw prospect.
New line coach Jeff Stoutland, who came over to the Eagles from the national powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide, will sink his teeth into Johnson and show him the tricks of the trade so that hopefully by the time September rolls around, the big fella will be up to the task of protecting Vick’s all-important blind side.
If Johnson puts the mental game together to go along with his astounding physical skills, the Eagles, with Jason Peters return from injury, could form a dominant offensive line. Not since the days of Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan have the Eagles boasted such talent at the tackle positions. We will see if it translates into wins and potentially a playoff berth in 2013.