Oklahoma Sooner offensive tackle (and Human Relations major) Lane Johnson's stock has been skyrocketing, particularly since his incredible 4.72-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine earlier this year. The Groveton, Texas native attended Groveton High School where he played quarterback and then Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas, his freshman year (where he also played quarterback) before transferring to Oklahoma in 2009. At Oklahoma, Johnson started at right tackle and was then moved to the left side.
With many teams desperate to rebuild a weak offensive line, Johnson is likely to have an immediate and positive impact upon whichever team selects him in the upcoming draft. Here is (almost) everything any football fan, fantasy player, and NFL general manager needs to now about this young man. NFL.com gives Johnson a grade of 92.9.
Weight: 303 lbs
Arm length: 35 1/4"
Hand size: 10 1/8"
40-yard dash time: 4.72 seconds
Vertical jump: 34"
225-lb bench press reps: 28
Broad jump: 9'10"
20-yard shuttle: 4.52 seconds
3-cone drill: 7.31 seconds
As Kilgore College's quarterback in 2008, Johnson completed 32 of 61 passes for 510 yards and three touchdowns; as well as carrying the ball 17 times for 24 yards and one touchdown.
In 2009, Johnson red-shirted his first year at Oklahoma.
The following year, he played tight end and was moved to defensive end midway through the season.
In 2011, Johnson started 12 of 13 games (did not play versus Tulsa) at right tackle, had ten knockdowns versus Kansas, and was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team.
In 2012, he was the starting left tackle and played all 13 games. He was named by CBS Sports to the All-American Third Team, as well as the All-Big 12 Second Team, and the Academic All-Big 12 First Team.
There is mass consensus that Johnson is athletic and fast, as evidenced by his Combine performance. He also has good, quick feet which enables him to mirror defenders. For a big guy, Johnson is rather flexible. He is very explosive off the snap and quick to set up. He is a solid pass and run blocker who keeps his large hands inside and uses his length and arm strength to keep defenders at bay. He is very good in space at opening running lanes. Johnson has demonstrated solidity as an anchor to prevent the collapse of the pocket on the left side, as well as the ability to lock out and seal defenders on the edge. He also has a very competitive attitude which shows during his play.
Despite the aforementioned strengths, Johnson's lower body could use more muscle to improve his anchoring ability. His size has been somewhat problematic as evidenced by leveraging issues when engaged with smaller defensive ends. He can sometimes overextend in space and fall off blocks. Many assert that Johnson is slightly mechanical and could use refinement in his movement; however, it must be remembered that Johnson has only played left tackle for one season (and has been on the offensive line for two), so his inexperience could prove to be an issue. However, his ability to play a multitude of positions should demonstrate that he is a fast and adept learner.
Potential Landing Spots
Johnson's name is abuzz among the Arizona Cardinals (#7 pick), San Diego Chargers (#11), and St. Louis Rams (#16)--each of which are seeking to fortify their offensive lines. There has been some talk of interest by the New York Giants (#19) who would have to trade up significantly to have a shot at drafting him.
Johnson is currently the #3-ranked OT heading into the draft behind Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. First lauded as a borderline first-round pick, he has now become a likely top-ten selection. While many, including ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. assert that Johnson will go to the San Diego Chargers with their #11 pick, there is the possibility that he could land in Arizona at #7.
Johnson has drawn comparisons to Detroit OT Riley Reiff who was selected in the first round (#23) of the 2012 Draft and two-time Pro Bowler and Carolina Panther OT Jordan Gross, also a first-round pick (#8), in 2003.