When Lane Johnson got to Oklahoma after junior college, he was a quarterback without much of an idea of where the Sooners planned to play him.
He wound up at tackle and played it well enough to wind up as the fourth overall pick of the draft on Thursday night. That suggested the Eagles aren’t put off by the fact that he’s still in the process of learning how to play the position, something coach Chip Kelly confirmed when speaking to the media after the selection. In fact, Kelly said that the Eagles were attracted to Johnson because of how much room he still has to grow.
“I think he is ready, but he is raw,” Kelly said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We look at raw as a positive, not a negative. If he’s doing what he’s doing right now, and he’s only played like two years on the offensive line … We felt that his ceiling is probably the highest.”
Johnson’s athleticism and the promise it holds for his ability to get down the field or out wide against pass rushers must be appealing to the Eagles. While we don’t know exactly what the NFL version of his offense will look like, it’s a good bet that the ability to do those things will come in handy. Assuming his growing pains aren’t of the variety that lead to stretchers for the quarterback, the Eagles will swallow them happily for a chance to see Johnson reach that ceiling.