With the 4th pick in the 2013 draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select….OT Lane Johnson

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Lane Johnson has his moment on the NFL Draft state with Commissioner Roger Goodell after being the 4th overall pick. Image via the Philadelphia Eagles Instagram.

Eagles fans, the wait is over. There was no trading down—instead, when Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson was still available at number 4, the Philadelphia Eagles took him.

The 6’6, 303 lb tackle will be an integral part of the Eagles’ offensive, helping to protect Mike Vick, who at this early stage will presumably be Philadelphia’s starting quarterback for the 2013 season. Johnson is an extremely athletic player–he has played both sides of the o-line as well as played quarterback and tight end in his career.  Here is an excerpt from Johnson’s scouting report, via The National Football Post:

With rare foot quickness he is able to slide out to the corner easily to stop speed rusher’s initial burst. His ability to block with base helps him to slide easily side to side to adjust to quick pass rush moves at the contact point. Although he does not punch aggressively in pass pro, he flashes the ability to get his hands on pass rusher quickly, can “get a good fit” and is able to lock-out and tie up pass rusher.

Head coach Chip Kelly said that Johnson is one of the players the team had targeted and was extremely excited to add him to the Eagles.

I know [Oklahoma head coach] Bob Stoops extremely well and I talked to Bob about [Lane Johnson] extensively last week. He just remarked what a tough player he is and what a selfless player that he is; he’s moved positions. He wants to play. I think he is going to be a great addition to our team. The game is won up front. He’s another tough, physical guy and that’s what we were looking for.

For his part, Johnson is thrilled to be heading to Philadelphia for many reasons, including the fact that his experience with Oklahoma’s up-tempo offense should fit in well with Kelly’s plans.

I know that at Oregon, they ran a very fast-paced offense that was very similar to Oklahoma and I think I fit with what they need…I’m excited. I think Coach Kelly brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the Eagles. I know we’re all anticipating what’s going to happen and so am I. I’m ready to get started and I’m very fortunate to be with the Eagles.”

Johnson also thinks that his style of play will be a good fit for Philly’s notoriously intense sports fans.

I view myself as kind of an aggressive player on the field, but off the field I’m a down-to-earth guy. I’m not arrogant at all. I know Philly is a good blue-collar town that works its tail off and they’re very passionate about their sports, especially football.”

It’s a solid pick for the Birds. After tackles Eric Johnson and Luke Joeckel went 1-2 to the Chiefs and Jaguars, respectively, and Oregon DE Dion Jordan, who was rumored to be of interest to Philadelphia, went third to the Dolphins, Philadelphia decided to stay put and get one of the top talents on the board, which was their strategy all along.

With the tattered o-line one of the biggest detriments to the Eagles’ efforts in 2012 and the unknown of if Jason Peters will truly back to his former self going into 2013, picking one of the most talented players in a draft stacked with offensive line talent was a no-brainer for Philadelphia. And, as offensive lineman typically experience less of a gap in performance from the college to the professional level than other positions, Johnson will hopefully make his presence well known on the Birds’ line for years to come.

Welcome to Philadelphia, Lane.

Here is some film of Johnson, the first draft selection of the Chip Kelly era for the Eagles.

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