While many are focused on the older players along the Philadelphia Eagles‘ offensive line, some are forgetting about the young talent they have there as well. Starting center Jason Kelce and starting right tackle Lane Johnson are both developing into elite players. But Johnson is just entering the third year of his career at 25-years old and believes he is “getting close to being elite.”
In a recent interview with Eagles’ insider Dave Spadaro, Johnson talked about his expectations for the upcoming season, his offseason training and much more, it’s certainly worth watching. But one thing that stood out during the interview was Johnson’s confidence, he seems to truly believe that he’s on the cusp of being an elite offensive tackle in the NFL and rightfully so. Johnson made a huge leap in production from his rookie season to this past season, despite missing the first four games of the year due to a suspension.
Although Johnson was the fourth pick overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Eagles, he was a converted quarterback that still had quite a way to go as far as technique goes to be an elite player in the NFL. Johnson has come a long way and popular football analytic’s site, Pro Football Focus, uses numbers that show just how much better he has gotten in his first two years in the NFL.
During his rookie season in 2013, Johnson started all 16 games and finished the season as the 46th overall offensive tackle, according to PFF. Johnson allowed 10 sacks, 8 quarterback hits and 39 quarterback hurries…quite disappointing numbers. But this past season, despite missing the first four games of the year, Johnson finished the season as the 13th overall offensive tackle, allowing just 1 sack, 2 quarterback hits and 23 quarterback hurries. That’s a huge improvement for just a single offseason’s worth of work.
If Johnson continues to develop at the pace he has throughout his first two years in the NFL, there’s no doubt about it that he can develop into an elite offensive linemen this upcoming season. One other thing Johnson mentioned in the interview was his offseason work with Jay Glazer at his MMA gym, Unbreakable Performance Center, to help him get in the “best shape of his life” and he actually dropped his body fat by 3%. Johnson also mentioned that the workouts helped him “get more violent with his hands,” which is key for both edge rushers and offensive linemen.
Here’s a picture that Glazer tweeted out of himself, Johnson and a few other NFL players including New York Giants offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Chicago Bears offensive linemen Kyle Long working out at his gym:
It’s clear that Johnson is dedicated to becoming an elite offensive linemen and the sky is the limit. Hopefully he can be on the field for every single game this season and avoid any possible suspension this year. With such questionable depth along their offensive line, the Eagles can’t afford any of their starters missing time upfront.
They felt the wrath of the injury bug last year and it severely hindered the way their offense was able to function. Hopefully Johnson and the rest of the starters can stay on the field and if they can, the possibilities are endless for both Johnson and the Eagles in 2015.
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