Acquired: Selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft (Fourth overall)
Quarterback, tight end, defensive lineman, offensive tackle - Lane Johnson played all of those positions during his collegiate career. Entering the 2014 NFL Draft, there was no doubt that Johnson was a physically gifted athlete, but did he have enough experience to play offensive tackle at the NFL level? Johnson's value skyrocketed after his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, and in his first season, Johnson lived up to his fourth overall selection.
Though it turned out that his stories of wrestling bears with his bare hands turned out to be fabricated, Johnson's ability to wrestle with some of the top defensive ends in the NFL was no fable. Though there were growing pains along the way (as there are with all rookies) Johnson adapted to the speed of NFL football relatively quickly. He picked up the Eagles offense and protection schemes quickly, and was then able to focus more on his technique in terms of using his hands as well as improving his footwork.
Johnson had only played right tackle for one season at the University of Oklahoma, so he had plenty of learning to do as a rookie. On top of that, Johnson was called upon to be a starter in one of the most up-tempo offenses in the NFL, testing his conditioning and endurance. On occasion, Johnson was also split out wide in some of Chip Kelly's more unique formations. There was a lot to grasp for Johnson, but he turned out to be a reliable piece of an offensive line that paved the way for the league's top rushing attack and the most productive offense in franchise history in terms of yards and points.
Johnson has benefitted from playing with an offensive line that was able to stay healthy and play together in all 17 games that the Eagles played in 2013. The young right tackle has also taken advantage of having All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters as a teammate and mentor.
TOP PLAYS OF THE YEAR
Playing offensive tackle doesn't typically come along with a lot of flashy plays. In fact, sometimes fans only hear an offensive lineman's name during a game if he is called for a penalty. But with that said, there were some instances of Johnson really standing out on the game film.
As Brian Baldinger discussed above, Johnson played very fundamentally sound games during the middle of the season against the Raiders, Packers and Redskins. Pay extra attention to Johnson's block of Green Bay's Johnny Jolly, as Johnson engages with him and sends him on a ride. On the next play, Baldinger explains how nice of a job Johnson did against impending free agent Brian Orakpo, Washington's best pass-rusher.
Though there are no individual stats for the right tackle position, Johnson played in 1103 of the Eagles 1104 offensive plays in 2013. He was one-fifth of an offensive line that allowed Eagles runners to pick up 2,566 yards on the ground, the highest total in the NFL. The Eagles running game also lead the league in yards per carry (5.1) and finished second in the league with 19 rushing touchdowns.