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The 2013 NFL Draft has finally arrived and young players' dreams finally become a reality of reaching their ultimate goal of finally making it to the NFL. After months of speculation on what new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly would do in his first NFL Draft whether he would stay at #4, would they trade down if their guy wasn't there, well he finally got his guy.
The Eagles stayed pat with their original selection at 4th overall, the 3rd time in 25 years the Eagles are drafting in the top 10 and with the first selection in the Chip Kelly Eagles regime, he goes on the offensive side by taking 6-6 303lbs offensive tackle out of Oklahoma, Lane Johnson.
The 23 year old, only appeared in 25 starts at offensive lineman in his collegiate career before he was switched over from tight end in 2011 but brings a lot of versatility to this aging offensive line. He started 12 out of 13 games at right tackle in 2011 and started all 13 games on the left side his senior year. He registered 30 touchdown-resulting blocks and 205 knockdowns.
The 2012 All Big 12 Second teamer rose through team's draft boards over the past couple of weeks as he blew away scouts in his workouts. NFL Network's Mike Mayock had the star lineman ranked as the 6th best player in the draft, and third best tackle behind Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel who went one and two to their respective teams. But something new Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly constantly said in his press conference is he brings a lot of athleticism to the table which is what he wants out of his players no matter what type of offensive system he runs. He is a guy that has great footwork and cuts off the edge rusher and sustains the block very effectiviely. He also brings a tremendous amount of physicality and strength with his great use of hands. He is a guy that has great upside because he is someone that can do it all with solid run and pass blocking skills which shows in his ability to play both tackle positions. but the main issue is he is still a raw talent.
Kelly openingly admitted that his 1st round selection has some developing to do especially with the lack of experience he has playing along the oline in college, but what makes him standout is his attitude. The Eagles head coach said many times that he brings a great work ethic with him and is always looking to improve and get better. Those are the type of guys that Kelly says he wants on his team.
The Eagles projected starting offensive lineman now are: LT Jason Peters, LG Evan Mathis, C Jason Kelce, RG Todd Herremans, and RT Lane Johnson. The kid according to scouts can excel as a natural left tackle in this league but for the time being with Jason Peters returning from injury, Johnson helps solidify a weakness by allowing Herremans to move inside replacing Danny Watkins at RT. And addresses an aging offensive line long term with three players on the wrongside of 30(Jason Peters(31),Evan Mathis(31),Todd Herremans(30)) and the ability to play multiple positions. But was this the right selection?
I understand what the Eagles were doing... Anytime you feel you can get a potential Pro Bowl caliber offensive tackle to be here for years to come to go for it but the Eagles have way bigger issues than adding offensive line depth. The Eagles have three All pro caliber talent returning from injury with Peters, Kelce, and Herremans. The issue wasn't so much the offensive line's play but more of consistency together and building continuity with the amount of injuries the line sustained and the lack of depth.
With tackles Shariff Floyd and Star Lotulelei still on the board, I felt the Eagles needed to address that situation. The Eagles did a decent job trying to revamp this defense that was in shambles through via free agency but still have some needs they have to address in the front seven, mainly finding talents that can play in Chip's 3-4 system. They need someone who can anchor that defensive line and either one of those guys could made a huge impact right now along side last year's 1st round selection Fletcher Cox. They could of had a nasty pass rush up front.
Basically my point is, I want guys in here that are difference makers and playmakers on this football team especially on the defensive side of the football. Guys that can make an immediate impact right now but Rome wasn't build overnight meaning the Eagles still have plenty of time to address those needs in a deep defensive draft. Overall a quality pick by the Eagles thinking long term addressing the offensive line. Lets just hope in five years we aren't saying this is another Danny Watkins type of pick when looking back on it.
Chip Kelly addresses Media after selection Lane Johnson....