Offensive linemen are about as sexy as a Rotary Club poker night, but they certainly were the pick of the litter in Thursday night’s first round of the annual NFL Meat on the Hoof Market.
The Eagles got their big slice of beef, drafting 6-6, 303-pound Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson with the fourth pick and he would appear to an ideal fit for Chip Kelly’s high-octane spread offense.
Kelly, whose eyes twinkle with the unbalance of either a genius or a madman, also is a flint-eyed pragmatist. Kelly must have eyes with multiple skill sets.
And when Kelly sees athleticism, he wants it. And then the want becomes a need. Athleticism is the addiction that his fast-tempo attack feeds on.
Enter Lane Johnson, who while as raw as cactus as an OT, evidently is an amazing palette of size, speed and natural movement skills with potential that shouts to be heard.
A former quarterback and tight end in junior college, Johnson has the sleek, gliding strides to get out in space in front of the Birds’ plethora of playmakers.
Granted, it also will help if he’s as unflappable as an English butler when muscle, mayhem and bad intentions run amuck in the muck of the underground labyrinth that is the line of scrimmage.
Of course, the Eagles drafted another raw O lineman a couple years ago when they plucked guard Danny Watkins and then got shucked like an ear of corn.
“I think he is ready, but he is raw,” Kelly said of Johnson. “We look at raw as a positive, not a negative. If he’s doing what he’s doing right now, and he’s only played like two years on the offensive line . . . We felt that his ceiling is probably the highest.”
If Johnson does manage to bump his head on the ceiling, he presumably will start at right tackle with Todd Herremans moving back inside to his natural position of guard.
If healthy, Jason Peters will be the left tackle and Jason Kelce will be the center. If Herremans goes back to left guard, Evan Mathias will move to right guard ahead of Watkins.
Just to show you that there often can be a quick changing of, ahem, of the guard in the Not For Long world.
Here’s hoping that Chip Kelly, who has a knack for concocting creative schemes, also has a generous ladling of insight into picking personnel.