As we all know, the Philadelphia Eagles had their fair share of injuries to their offensive line last season, which resulted in backups playing most of the year.
This led the Eagles to draft an offensive lineman, Lane Johnson, with the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Johnson performed extremely well at the Senior Bowl by displaying his athletic ability and toughness, and also had an incredible combine by running a 4.72 40-yard dash, 28 reps of 225 pounds and a 34-inch vertical.
He’s obviously athletic, but he’s extremely raw. Yet, being raw in this day and age in NFL isn’t a bad thing. It simply means they need more reps at practice to get their feet wet to give them a better understanding of the game at the NFL level.
It’s hard to believe that Johnson won’t succeed in the pro level, but he will have his growing pains and will probably have a hard time adjusting to the NFL.
He will most likely find the terminology difficult to understand as well. However, Johnson will have one of the best college offensive line coaches helping him out in Jeff Stoutland, who had a dominating offensive line the past two seasons with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Stoutland requires his lineman to take correct angles and deliver toughness and physicality. He has a good coaching strategy that should help Johnson become dominant as soon as possible.
Now, I’m not going to compare Johnson’s situation to 2011 rookie offensive lineman Danny Watkins, but Johnson will struggle at first just like Watkins did. However, he has way more talent at tackle than Watkins does at guard.
All Johnson needs to do is go head-to-head against the best pass rushers on the team. He’ll get beat a few times during training camp, but if he continues to go up against elite competition, he is only going to get better.