Rookie tackle Lane Johnson, the No. 4 pick in April's draft, was the recipient of high praise from Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly following the team's first preseason game. Per Sheil Kapadia, Johnson not only seemed up to his responsibilities but also showed the athleticism that leads everyone to believe he's perfect for Kelly's up-tempo offensive style:
The key with him in Year 1 is getting the elite athleticism to show up on the field. For example, take a look at this Chris Polk 4-yard run in the first. Johnson starts off double-teaming a defender with Brent Celek. But he then peels off and looks for a defensive back to hit. And even though Polk is being brought down behind him, Johnson shows off his athleticism, getting his hands on a defensive back at the next level.
Not bad for the 23-year-old.
“His first game, he didn’t really stick out like a rookie – in a good way,” Kelly said. “Sometimes I think they stick out as rookies in a poor way where they’re going in the wrong direction or they’re kind of caught up in it. But I don’t think he was by any stretch…”
Assuming Johnson is ready to go from day one (and when you take a tackle at No. 4, you're kind of expecting him to be ready from day one), he joins an Eagles offensive line that's getting starters Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans back from 2012 injuries to go along with left guard Evan Mathis. So for all of the justifiable concerns there are about the quarterback situation and the ability of the Eagles' players to adapt to Kelly's new offense and Bill Davis' new defense, offensive line appears to be one area at which the Eagles have very few questions. Assuming those guys can stay healthy this time around, Philadelphia easily has the best offensive line in the NFC East and should be able to cover some of the growing pains with reliable (and even some ultra-athletic) blocking up front.