Lane Johnson was Oklahoma’s standout offensive tackle, and while he was one of the best coming out of the NCAA this year, his selection by the Eagles that high in the NFL Draft was a surprise to some.
But if Lane Johnson’s any indication, Chip Kelly version of the Read Option Offense will be fast-paced and exciting. Here’s Lane Johnson giving his first interview as an NFL football player:
Q. Lane, with the offensive line woes last year of the Philadelphia Eagles, do you feel a lot of pressure coming in, having to make an impact quickly?
LANE JOHNSON: I don’t. I put the most pressure on myself. I’m going to be a great player, and I do whatever it takes, ready, set, go. I’m excited to go down there tomorrow.
Q. What do you know about the rivalry in the NFC East between the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins?
LANE JOHNSON: I know the Eagles have the best fans, I know that. I think you can watch Invincible and kind of get a clear picture of what it’s like. A lot of great games that they play, a lot of good heated rivalries. So I mean, going in, there’s going to be a lot of good games to play in.
Q. Lane, what are you looking forward to as far as read option offense?
LANE JOHNSON: I think just the up tempo and being the first to kind of bring it to the NFL and get that whole thing started.
Q. A lot of buzz about you at the Eagles these past 48 hours; what’s their communication been with you?
LANE JOHNSON: Coach actually talked to me this morning, looked a few things over. Had a great vibe with him. We’ve been keeping in touch. Had a really good vibe coming into the Draft. When Miami was on the clock, I was kind of nervous. I didn’t know when I was going there. When Philly came on the phone, I knew I was going there.
Q. Have you been to Philadelphia before?
LANE JOHNSON: Yes, just on the visits just one time.
Q. The city does obsess over its athletes. I grew up there, so I know that it’s beyond ‑‑ is that something that gets you a little nervous? You can’t turn on a radio station, and it’s almost obsessive, how they do it.
LANE JOHNSON: As an athlete, all you can focus on is what you’re doing right now. You can’t really control a lot of things. All you can do is do your best and let everything else take care of itself.
Q. In terms of your development, where do you say you are as an offensive tackle now as compared to when you first started? Where do you think you can be in a few years?
LANE JOHNSON: I think a lot better than when I first started. Turn on my first flip of me, my first start against Florida State, you’ll see a real raw, unpolished player. I’d only been playing there a few weeks.
Moving forward, I think my best football is ahead of me. I think I’ve come nowhere close to reaching my full potential. And I think the next few years will be very excited.
Q. The stuff that Chip likes to do, do you think to yourself “I’m a good fit for that”?
LANE JOHNSON: I think so. The fast‑paced offense at Oregon fits what we did at Oklahoma, getting close to 100 plays a game. Up tempo stuff in the NFL. I think we’re all getting excited for that.
Q. What do you make of that?
LANE JOHNSON: Usually you’ll see skill position like quarterbacks go. Tackle is not a very sexy position, but it’s a position in dire need. I think, when you have a good, solid offensive line, it really can benefit a team as far as passing the ball and running.
Q. As far as this pre‑Draft process, did you think the number four pick was realistic? At the start of the Draft process, did you think the number four pick was realistic for you?
LANE JOHNSON: Not at all. My last game against A&M, a bunch of people saying I was third round. It bumped up a little bit more. A lot more buzz came after the senior bowl. I had a good week there. Then after the combine, it went up a little bit more.
Leading up to now, there’s been a lot of mock drafts and high buildup. You can’t really pay attention to it because you don’t really know what’s going to happen?
Q. Who called you? Howie, Chip?
LANE JOHNSON: I think a scout first, and then Chip got on the phone and talked with me.
Q. Lane, talk about how excited you are to play the spread offense.
LANE JOHNSON: I’m excited. I think Coach Kelly is going to put a potent offense out there. I’m excited to be part of this team and this organization and ready to get started in the next few months.
Q. What do you know about the spread offense? What do you know about it?
LANE JOHNSON: I know it requires a lot of speed and a lot of athletic guys up front to kind of get the job done, and obviously, I think they have very dangerous quarterbacks, Nick Foles and Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Larry Macklin outside. You have dangerous skill positions. When you have guys that can do it up front, I think it helps it out a lot.
Q. Being that you played other positions before, you were an offensive lineman, are you looking forward to special duty on the goal line?
LANE JOHNSON: You never know. I think we talked about it a couple of times, doing some tackle eligible plays, something like that.
Q. For those few minutes there, when the Dolphins traded up, did you think that was going to be you?
LANE JOHNSON: Absolutely. I think my whole family ‑‑ they got rid of Jake Long. He’s with the Rams now. We all were anticipating it was Miami. We were already getting the hugs started kind of deal. And then after they chose Dion
Jordan, I knew Philly was on the clock, and I had a really good shot of coming here.
Q. What was it like when it wasn’t you and you went with Dion?
LANE JOHNSON: Kind of took your breath away. You’re already kind of getting thoughts running through your head what it would be like down in Miami, and after it happens, it’s kind of a relief.
Q. Did it make you second guess that the Eagles weren’t going to take you after Miami didn’t.
LANE JOHNSON: Well, I knew they had a fourth pick, and I was kind of relieved that they had because I had such a good vibe with them.
Q. Who’s here with you in New York?
LANE JOHNSON: My whole family pretty much. My wife, my inlaws, my mom and dad. Got my aunt and uncle and grandparents here too.