Philadelphia Eagles News

Lane Johnson In Philadelphia

On what he has heard about Philadelphia: "I just heard that the fans are probably the best. I talked to some of the fans earlier and I watched the movie Invincible. I mean, the crowd gets rowdy every now and then, that's what it's all about. It's kind of like Texas, where I come from, if you ever watched Friday Night Lights. I just think the whole culture here in Philadelphia is all about football."

On his journey starting out as a junior college quarterback to a first round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles and whether he envisioned becoming a professional quarterback as opposed to an offensive tackle: "Well, growing up, I played at such a small high school. I didn't get heavily recruited; I had 33 kids in my graduating class. I didn't get any offers, so my only option was to go to Kilgore junior college to play quarterback. I went there and I kept on growing. Eventually, I started playing tight end and I was around 250 pounds and then I went to [Oklahoma] to play tight end. After a few years there, I was 290 pounds and I was playing a little bit of tight end, [defensive end]. I kept on growing, my frame kept on growing. [Oklahoma head] coach [Bob] Stoops came and asked me to play tackle. When one of our tackles went down, I was stuck there ever since. Growing up, I never ever thought I'd be playing tackle. I was always a skill position player my whole life. You know, playing basketball and stuff. It's been a dream come true. These days go by so fast and it's kind of hard to catch up. You really have to look at reality, but now it's starting to set in and I'm just glad to be here."

On playing with a "nasty attitude" on the field and where that came from: "I'm usually not a mean and aggressive guy off the field, but I think when you're on the field you want to have a nasty temperament and just try to be as dominant as you can [be] over another player. I know that's what scouts and people are looking for on tape because we had a few ex-NFL players telling me to play aggressive and mean. I tried to take that to heart my senior year and really put some good stuff on tape and try to do the best I could."

On the transition from playing quarterback to offensive tackle and what that does for him: "Well, I think when you're a quarterback, you know where people are on the field. You know your protections and you know the defensive alignments. Now, playing tackle, it's easier to see things and you have a greater appreciation for protecting the quarterback because I know how it feels to get sacked on your blind side when you obviously can't see it."

On what his immediate reaction was to moving to the offensive line: "I was hesitant at first. Coach Stoops came and brought the idea to my attention and I told him I was going to continue to play [defensive end] until things stopped going right. After a few weeks, I noticed that the team really needed me to play tackle and I was actually in a pass rush drill against the [defensive end] and the coaches asked me to move and switch sides and I did. I really noticed that I could get a lot of playing time and after the second time around, that's when I decided to start playing it."

On how his athleticism helps him as an offensive lineman: "Well, I think athleticism makes up for a bunch of mistakes. I think on the college level you can get away with some things, but this is the pros. Obviously you're playing with the best of the best and you obviously have to play with a better technique and that's something I'm going to try to incorporate into my game."

On his impression of the draft process and if he expected to be drafted as high as he was originally when he declared to go to the draft: "I don't think anybody did, but it's all part of the process. You see players go through it every year. Me after my last game, I knew I had the Senior Bowl coming up and that was going to be very important and against some of the best players in the country. I had the opportunity to do that and so, you try to put your best foot forward. I had a good week there and then got to go to the Combine, which gives you a chance to show off your athletic ability and not just what you did on the football field. After the Combine I knew my draft stock was elevated and moving toward the draft, a lot of buzz had been hyped up and I kind of had an idea of where I was going."

On the things he thought he could get away with on the college level what he will need to do in order excel in the NFL: "I think just being a student of the game, knowing your drive cold. I think whenever you know what you're doing and you play a lot faster and you're not thinking. I think a bunch of rookies that are thinking so much are really not playing as fast as they could, so knowing my position code, knowing what I'm doing and working on my technique."

On what his first day as a Philadelphia Eagle has been like so far: "I'm just getting used to the city now that I know that I'm going to be living here for the next four years. I know I'm going to have to get used to the people here and the culture. I had a cheesesteak earlier, so I had a good taste of that. I just need to get used to the environment that I'm going to be in."

On if he feels like there are more descriptions about him that could be used more: "I mean people see me as 'raw' [like] piece of meat (jokingly).. I try to play with technique and try to be a polished as I can. I guess people use the term 'raw' because I have been playing for two years. I'm trying to perfect my craft and trying to get better each time that I'm on the practice field and playing the game."

On what took place during Thursday morning's phone call with the Eagles: "I was actually talking to one of [Offensive Line] Coach [Jeff] Stoutland's friends—a sports psychologist that used to help him at Alabama then at Michigan State. So, we kind of just went over my profile, where I came from and kind of get an idea, because I guess Coach Stoutland knew I was going to be here."

On his first day after being drafted: "I woke up and reality sets in and I know where I'm at, so obviously I let all of my family and friends know and then I took a two-hour trip over here and got a good look at the scenery of where I'm going to be playing and just the town of Philadelphia in general."

On whether there was a point at Kilgore where he realized he may not have a future as a quarterback and whether there was a resistance on his part to switch positions: "No. I mean, the quarterback year, I started one game but I played in every game. I played quarterback very well in that spring and then one of our tight ends, I think, either quit or left the team and Coach Eckert asked if I'd do double-duty. Then, whenever teams started recruiting me, they saw me in the spring and I had a good 40 time and good test numbers. They saw me as a tight end because of my frame and what I was going to grow into."

On whether he ever considered only playing quarterback and not changing positions: "No, I was set just to [play] where I could play the most."

On how he added close to 70 pounds during his college years: "I was like 230 while I was at Kilgore. Like 235."

On whether he weighed 200 pounds coming out of high school: "That was part of my junior year. My senior year, I was probably 225 when I graduated and I was 230, 235 heading to Kilgore."

On whether it was easy to add weight: "Yeah. Whenever I got to Oklahoma, they measured my frame. They measure the width of your chest and your hips and stuff like that and my frame was 265. Usually they'll do the body measurements to see where guys will progress and if they're going to grow out of their position. By my senior year, they said my frame was 325 where I could hold my weight so I just kept on getting wider and my frame kept on getting bigger."

*On whether playing in a high-tempo offense at Oklahoma will be helpful while learning the Eagles offense: *"I think it will be very beneficial. I think when you run up-tempo offenses, you've got to think quick, react quick and [that's] something [that I've been] trained [to do] the last four years. So, I think it will be pretty easy coming in."

On what he likes best about playing offensive line: "They kind of see the offensive line as big uglies and we take pride in being big and ugly. It's kind of like a brotherhood. I know at Oklahoma, we were all best friends. We all hung out together and did stuff together, so it was kind of like a little family."

On whether his plan at Kilgore was to catch the eye of a big college program or whether he had decided football wasn't in his plans after college: "My main deal [was] I was going to make it. That was my main goal coming out of high school. To be honest, going to junior college is kind of like a do-or-die situation and survival of the fittest, so everybody's just trying to practice hard. Every time a scout or something comes around, it's like [a] 'Please get me out of here' kind of deal. So, that's how it was."

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