On Thursday, Lane Johnson became the 14th Sooner in the history of the vaunted program to hear his name called as a Top Five selection in the NFL Draft when the Philadelphia Eagles called his name at No. 4.
Johnson has remarkably only played two years on the offensive line.
But it was that athleticism and aptitude which set him apart as one of the most elite NFL prospects in the draft and the Eagles brass saw many of the same qualities that Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops saw in the road-grader.
“We all knew,” Stoops answered when asked if he was surprised that Johnson was picked so high in the first round of Thursday night’s NFL Draft.
“We’ve seen him run our gasers or three trippers over and back and over. He is in front of the defensive ends and defensive linemen 10 or 15 yards every day. So we knew as soon as they (NFL scouts) would test him – they were going to be shocked at what his upside is.”
Stoops believes that Johnson will fit in perfectly with the fast-paced offense that newly appointed head coach Chip Kelly hopes to employ in Philadelphia.
“Absolutely,” Stoops answered quickly when asked if Johnson will fit in with Kelly’s schemes. “This guy, Lane, can go all day. He is as well conditioned and framed athlete that we have had here. Lane can go every snap and he has been trained to do that.”
“He is guy who can run and change directions.”
Some have proclaimed that Johnson will need some time before he is ready to play regularly and take on NFL caliber defensive linemen, but that is not the way the Sooners’ coach sees it.
“No,” Stoops answered briskly when asked if he will need a lot of development. “He’s raw, but he is incredibly talented, smart and has been taught well by his coaches, the (Oklahoma) assistant coaches.
“So I feel he will be ready to take it on immediately.”
The Eagles will have the third pick, No. 35 overall in the Second Round of the NFL Draft on Friday.