The Philadelphia Eagles’ fans were chanting for quarterback Geno Smith, but they got someone better—offensive tackle Lane Johnson.
As much as the quarterback position may be a need in Philly, landing a blindside protector for incumbent starter Michael Vick and whomever takes the reins in the future was far more vital.
Lane Johnson comes to the Eagles as the third offensive lineman taken in the first four picks of the 2013 NFL draft. This trend was expected, though many thought the Eagles were looking to add former Oregon pass rusher Dion Jordan. However, he was swooped up by the Miami Dolphins with the third-overall pick via a trade with the Oakland Raiders minutes before the Eagles made their selection.
The Eagles landed the better player long term, though, securing the right tackle role until—or unless—Jason Peters is unable to anchor the blindside.
The Eagles allowed 48 sacks and an NFL-leading 118 hits on the quarterback. In order to be successful in the NFL and in the feisty NFC East, the Eagles needed to bolster their offensive line and make an effort to keep their quarterback off the turf.
Johnson is a premier tackle with a huge frame and long arms. He is an outstanding pass blocker with an explosive burst off the line of scrimmage and fluent footwork. The Texas native uses his hands well, keeping pass rushers at bay and forcing them out of the play.
What’s more impressive with Johnson, he entered Oklahoma as a tight end after having played quarterback in high school. He’s still a somewhat raw talent as an offensive lineman with a very high ceiling. Johnson may not be there yet, but with time he could be a Pro Bowl tackle alongside the first two tackles picked in this draft, Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel.
As CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler notes, he can get a little undisciplined at times and will need to refine technique a bit. But overall, this is the best possible pick the Eagles could have made outside of landing Joeckel or Fisher.