It's been three years since Lane Johnson heard his name called on Draft Day and he has quickly become accustomed to life as starter in Philadelphia. The tackle has been a versatile player for the Birds, taking reps on both the right and left side to help his team, racking up 44 career starts along the way.
With a six-year extension signed this offseason, Johnson is set to be an Eagle for the long term. He recently thought back to his start in the league and reflected on the path he took from his rookie season to now.
On Being Selected No. 4 Overall
"To be honest, it was a whirlwind, kind of just a state of shock and surprise all at the same time. Everything is moving so fast in a short period of time. It's a lot to grasp. I tried not to worry too much about where I would be picked. I tried to go out and do what I did. Moving toward the draft, I had a feeling I was going to go pretty high. It was just a lot of sitting, waiting and wondering. It was up in the air, didn't know what was going to happen.
"I had a feeling that if Philly came up I wasn't going to go past them because I had a great workout with (offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland). I fit the system because I had a similar system in college. I knew it was going to be a good fit for me."
On Learning From Veterans
"I think the biggest thing you can get is try to cling on to older guys, veterans who have knowledge of what this business, this game is all about. You try to learn as much as you can from them to help you progress. For me, I knew I was probably going to end up starting and I needed to learn as much as I could as fast as I could. Those guys were going to be my keys to do that, especially Todd (Herremans) because he played on my side. Me and him working together, it was a good thing.
"Now, even with (Brett) Boyko and (Malcolm) Bunche, I just try to give them the knowledge. Knowledge is power and when they know what to expect and what's coming it makes stuff a lot easier, the transitions a lot smoother. Any time I can give them advice I try to."
On His NFL Expectations
"I didn't know. I really didn't know. I knew the talent level was going to be a bit different. The thing was just getting the mental game down. In college you can play a really good opponent and the next week … it's kind of a roller coaster. In the NFL, every time you play you're playing against somebody really good. You can't really take any days off. That's probably the biggest thing, just adjusting your mind to this level.
"I just tried to take it day by day and not look at the big picture things. I think that creates a lot of anxiety and makes you unsure of yourself. From that standpoint, I just went out there every day and tried to focus on something I could get better at and just let things fall into place. My goal was to just keep progressing ever since I got into the league and that's what I've been doing. You can watch on tape from every year, I've just gotten better and better. That's the main thing, always keep progressing and make your skills better. I think knowing I've been able to do that has been satisfying."
On His Life In 2013
"I was just married coming out of college, had a kid on the way and just trying to adjust to the NFL. It was a big year in 2013 for me. I had to get a house, had to get that all set to make the wife happy. That was probably the biggest change, trying to become a husband and a good father. There are tough weeks in this league and you need to have somebody you can go home to and vent. They understand what you're going through, give you advice from the outside and help you move forward."
On What He's Learned
"My third game I gave up a bunch of sacks to Kansas City. My biggest thing was just to learn from it. One of the biggest teachers is failure, so I think that taught me just to be a better student of the game.
My goal is to get in the playoffs for this team. That's first off and then personally, I definitely want to make the Pro Bowl so keep on improving there. I think even from last year to this year, there are probably two or three games I'd like to have back but for the most part I was dominating guys for a lot of the game. I just want to be more consistent, moving forward next year."