The Philadelphia Eagles used the fourth overall draft choice on offensive tackle Lane Johnson in part because of his athletic ability and versatility.
Already penciled in as the team’s starting right tackle, Johnson, who played quarterback and tight end before moving to tackle two years ago at the University of Oklahoma, can now add left tackle to positions he’s played.
Assuming he is healthy, All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters isn’t in any danger of losing his job anchoring the Birds’ offensive line. However, with only five offensive linemen in camp, Johnson was asked Wednesday to line up opposite a yellow garbage can during individualized teaching drills.
“He’s played the position,” Johnson said of Peters, who could serve as a mentor to the Birds’ young right tackle. “There’s nobody better to learn from than him and Jason Peters.”
Eagles center Jason Kelce, who took part in the early practices with the rookies on Tuesday and Wednesday because he is recovering from season ending knee surgery last September, sung Johnson’s praises after practice.
“He’s progressing extremely well,” Kelce said of Johnson. “You’re so new and you don’t know things very well, and you’re trying to learn everything mentally that you’re doing too much thinking. But, the reality is, you should just go out and play. We’d rather have him go full out and blow somebody up, and if he’s got the wrong guy we can correct that.”
In Chip Kelly‘s high octane offense, Johnson’s athleticism will certainly come in handy for the Eagles. His versatility, though, could become an added bonus if the injury bug returns after claiming four of the Birds’ five starters along the offensive line last season.
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