"If you go back and look at my tape, I've been able to show that," Johnson said recently. "So there shouldn't be any question marks. As far as my athletic ability, I think that will help making the transition to the NFL."
Johnson's combine performance was called one of the greatest by an offensive lineman in the 31-year history of the event. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.72 seconds, had a 34-inch vertical leap, and broad-jumped 118 inches.
"So you have a 300-pounder who is putting up numbers at the combine like a skill-position player," said the NFL Network's Mike Mayock.
Johnson actually finished behind Arkansas Pine-Bluff tackle Terron Armstead in the 40 (4.71 seconds) and the vertical leap (34.5 inches). But Armstead did not compete against the same competition in college and did not look as impressive on film, according to many evaluators.
"We always go back to the tape - [Johnson's] tape from the beginning of this year, or even the end of last year, up through Senior Bowl, has improved every single day," Mayock said. "As the tape has gotten better, you can see the physical, freakish ability."
NFL teams looking for athletic lineman to play up-tempo have obviously caught on. There has been recent buzz that Johnson won't slip past the Detroit Lions, who pick after the Eagles at No. 5.
The Eagles spent a lot of time with Johnson during the offseason. Coach Chip Kelly met him at the combine. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland worked him out in Texas earlier this month. And Johnson visited the NovaCare Complex a little over a week ago.
His rise, in part, can be attributed to the fact that tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are considered the top two overall prospects in the draft, and possibly the top two picks. If they go 1-2, tackle-hungry teams such as the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins could be enticed to trade up, possibly in a deal with the Eagles.
But it's going to take a slight leap of faith for the Eagles to take Johnson at No. 4. There could be some benefit to taking a lineman with such raw skill. Eagles left tackle Jason Peters, for instance, played tight end in college.
"Intelligence level is important. Background is important," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "Where were they coming from before? Is it junior college? Is it against low-level competition? Is it a position that, kind of, transfers?"
Johnson was an all-state quarterback at Kilgore High in Groveton, Texas. He went to Kilgore junior college to play quarterback, but was eventually moved to tight end. Oklahoma recruited him, and after a redshirt season he played a little tight end and defensive end as a sophomore.
Before his junior season, though, the Sooners lost their starting right tackle and Johnson was approached about filling in.
"I told the coach 'No' at first," Johnson said. "I really didn't think that he was serious about it. But then after a few weeks I knew he was serious and he needed help."
Johnson played most of his junior season at right tackle and then moved to left tackle last season. He said he played at 305 pounds last season.
"When I went to the Eagles they had my body fat down to around 15, 16 percent," Johnson said. "They want to see how lean you are. They'll measure your wrists, around your knees and ankles to see what your body can hold and they told me [it was] around 315, 320."
Johnson, who earned all-Big 12 second-team honors, entered the Senior Bowl in January already on the national radar. But when he didn't allow a sack during practices or the game, he padded what was already on tape.
"My deal heading into the Senior Bowl was that I knew I was going to be one of those combine freaks," Johnson said, "and I just wanted to prove to people that I could play football."
Receiver/Tight End Prospects
Here are the top-rated wide receivers and tight ends in the NFL draft and some others the Eagles could select in later rounds:
Player, college Ht. Wt. round
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee 6-2 216 1
Tavon Austin, West Virginia 5-8 174 1
Keenan Allen, California 6-2 206 1-2
Robert Woods, Southern Cal 6-0 201 1-2
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson 6-1 214 2
Justin Hunter, Tennessee 6-4 196 2
Terrance Williams, Baylor 6-2 208 2
Marquise Goodwin, Texas 5-9 183 3
Kenny Stills, Oklahoma 6-1 194 4-5
Josh Boyce, Texas Christian 5-11 206 5-6
Denard Robinson, Michigan 5-11 199 6
Rodney Smith, Florida State 6-5 225 7
Player, college Ht. Wt. round
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame 6-5 250 1
Zach Ertz, Stanford 6-5 249 1-2
Travis Kelce, Cincinnati 6-5 255 2-3
Gavin Escobar, San Diego State 6-6 254 2-3
Vance McDonald, Rice 6-4 267 3
Dion Sims, Michigan State 6-5 262 4-5
Chris Gragg, Arkansas 6-3 244 6
Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State 6-4 252 6-7
- Jeff McLane
Lane Johnson Scouting Report
Tale of the Tape
Height Weight Arm length Hands
6-foot-6 303 lbs. 351/4 inches 101/8 inches
40-yard dash: 4.72 seconds Bench press: 28 repetitions
Vertical jump: 34 inches Broad jump: 118 inches
3-cone drill: 7.31 seconds 20-yard shuttle: 4.52 secs.
Despite just a few years playing on the offensive line, Johnson has natural ability as a blocker. He uses his athleticism well and displays good footwork in pass protection. He keeps pass rushers at bay with his long arms. He's built like a basketball player, with narrow hips, but has surprising power. Scouts love that he plays with an attitude and is physical with his hands. Aside from his inexperience, Johnson can be undisciplined at times. He's not a great run blocker and doesn't always move defenders.
- Jeff McLane
Contact Jeff McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org.