Did the Philadelphia Eagles make the right draft choice in 2013 with Lane Johnson?
The 2013 NFL Draft was a bit of a change of pace for the Birds. They were coming off of an awful season, collecting only four wins. The 2012 season was the final year of Andy Reid’s era, and the Chip Kelly experiment was just beginning in 2013. Thanks to Reid’s disaster of the last season, the Eagles had the No. 4 overall pick that year. Initially, they took a right tackle in Lane Johnson.
Were the Eagles right for taking Johnson? Absolutely. There are no regrets here. Till this day, Johnson is still blocking up front for the Eagles, despite a few early-career hiccups. As we know, Johnson “couldn’t lay off the juice,” as center Jason Kelce stated during his famous parade speech.
Now, we’re not exactly sure what Johnson was putting in his body early on, but whatever it was, it was enough to get him suspended on two different occasions. And by now, Johnson has one strike left before he has to take an entire year off. Fortunately, though, Johnson has remained clean. He’s been available for the Eagles ever since his last punishment in 2016 and was an essential piece for the team’s Super Bowl run in 2017.
So say we rewind time and went back to the 2013 NFL Draft — would the Eagles still go with Johnson at pick No. 4? Apparently not. But it’s not because Johnson was the wrong choice — it’s more like he’s proven to be good enough to get selected even earlier.
The 2013 NFL Re-Draft:
The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid recently put together a re-draft of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. And with the second-overall pick, Johnson went off the board to the Jacksonville Jaguars — no longer making him available for the Eagles at pick No. 4. The original pick was offensive tackle, Luke Joeckel who doesn’t even appear on the first round of this re-draft now.
"“Selecting Joeckel was a massive mistake and while it took the Jaguars awhile to admit it, drafting Lane Johnson at this spot would’ve relaxed their worries a bit more while then franchise QB Blaine Gabbert was dropping back to pass. With Johnson’s versatility, he could’ve filled in at left or right tackle.”"
As for the Eagles, they would go with a wide receiver in this scenario. In the eyes of Reid, the Eagles would take California wide receiver, Keenan Allen. Right now, Allen is out in Cali playing for the Los Angeles Chargers and is easily one of the better wideouts in the game, despite some injury troubles as of late. At the time, the Eagles didn’t have too much to work with in the passing game, and Allen would’ve been a great addition for the long run.
"“With Nick Foles engineering Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, and Riley Cooper were scheduled to be the top three options. Adding Allen to the mix would have given the group a well needed facelift and another high-end talent opposite of Jackson.”"
Something else to note:
So the Eagles miss out on Lane Johnson but end up with Keenan Allen here in the first round. That’s fine and dandy, but the Eagles especially lose in this re-draft because one of their current stars also goes elsewhere. Remember, the Eagles drafted tight end Zach Ertz in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In this scenario, Ertz becomes a first-rounder.
"“With their second pick of the round, the Jets now address the offensive side of the ball with a dynamic tight end. Ertz is a do it all type of player that helps an offensive immediately. With his reliable hands, consistent routes and ability to get yards after the catch, he gives the offense a long term option at the tight end spot.”"
Imagine the Philadelphia Eagles without Zach Ertz. That would be a tough scenario. Fortunately, the Eagles still have Johnson and Ertz on board. Given that they both have postseason and Super Bowl experience now, they are both players who are working towards becoming elite at their position. And guess what? Both of them aren’t too far off.