The Eagles made OT Lane Johnson the first pick of the Chip Kelly era, making for a strong statement that they plan to build from the lines out and run an offense that demands top quality athletes.
Lane Johnson is the best physical specimen of any offensive lineman in the draft, actually given his size his athleticism compares favorably with any guy at any position. His college coach, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, says that's due to his hard work.
"He's worked hard," Stoops said. He's always been one of our best workers in the weight room. Sprints, running, I knew he'd run well. That didn't surprise any of us. He's worked hard with his body, too, to put himself in this position...We were always trying to find the best spot for Lane. He went from tight end to d-end to o-line, so we knew even before that [when Jarvis Jones was injured two springs ago] it was a possibility, and again, the reason we always were looking was because we appreciated how hard he worked, and he wanted to get him on the field. Fortunately, we think we found the right spot here the past couple of years...He did a great job, and Coach Kittle and Coach Patton working with him did a great job developing him. Just the more he plays and the more he matures, he's just going to get better and better."
Stoops says that when they first brought in Johnson, they did so without even knowing where they'd play him. They were just so blown away by his athleticism.
"Lane, when we recruited him and signed him, we did so just on what a big athlete he was, not having an idea where he'd end up growing, and it's kind of like the whole journey. He was starving himself to stay at 270 to play d-end. I asked Coach Schmidt how long it would take him to get to 300 pounds, and he said about a week and a cheeseburger. It didn't take them long. Sometimes with these big, long guys that are really athletic, you don't know where they're going to stop growing. Everybody here is excited for Lane."