Typically it's left tackles that are taken at the of a given draft, but this year top offensive tackles Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel & Lane Johnson will start their career as right tackles. At his first ever rookie minicamp, the Eagles #4 overall pick was immediately put on the right.
"Mostly right today," said Johnson after practice. "I really don't know what's going to end up happening but it's wherever the coaches need. Wherever they need me I wanna play."
The right side is not new to Johnson as he started there for Oklahoma in his junior year. He was moved over to the left side as a senior. It wouldn't be a shock to see him follow a similar career path in the pros. With Jason Peters reportedly healed and ready to go on the left, Johnson's career will start out on the right. However, Peters is only signed through 2014 and is set to make $20.75 million completely un-guaranteed. Assuming he does play out that contract, he'll be 33 and the Eagles could very well just move Johnson over to the left as his successor.
There's actually a growing sentiment that LT isn't really all that much more important than RT anymore. For one, the NFL has really evolved to the point where QBs throw to left basically just as much as they throw to the right now. Typically the best pass rusher always lined up opposite the LT, but most teams have more than one good pass rusher and blitz schemes have become so developed that there's really no one on the line that isn't continually tested.
Pro Football Focus did a recent study on pass pressure and found that more and more pressure is coming from the right side. They found that QBs are no more or less affected when they face pressure from the right or left. And actually, pressure from the left produces only slightly more sacks than pressure from the right. Last year, it turns out, the opposite was true.
For his part, Johnson says he doesn't feel he's better on one side or the other.
"I played left and right and college. So coming here, I feel pretty good at right."
He also says that his experience as a high school quarterback has aided his switch to offensive line the past few years.
"When you play quarterback you know where people are and where they're going, so when you move that to the line you can pick up blitzes pretty well."
Fact is, whether he's in the left or right probably isn't as important as it once was in the league. If Johnson is as good of a player as his potential suggets, he'll be just as valuable playing on the right.