Jan 4, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas A

NFL Draft Projection: Lane Johnson

Oklahoma Sooners’ offensive tackle Lane Johnson heads into the 2013 NFL Draft with a lot of promise and the very real prospect that he will end up as one of the first players taken in the first round on Thursday night. In 2010, Trent Williams went with the fourth pick after being widely considered the best offensive tackle in his draft class, and Johnson won’t wait much longer than that.

While he is not the top prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft at his position, he does have the luxury of sitting behind a young man in Luke Joeckel who should be the first player taken in the draft regardless of position. After that, it comes down to Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson and this draft should prove to be one where three offensive tackles are taken in the first 10 rounds.

Unlike both Joeckel and Fisher, Johnson is not a pure offensive tackle but he might be the most gifted athlete of the three players. In high school, Lane Johnson played quarterback and then came to the Oklahoma Sooners as a tight end. Midway through his first season, he switched over to the defense out of necessity and then the next year he moved to the offensive line where he started 12 of 13 games in 2011 at right tackle. In 2012, Johnson was one of the most improved players on the roster.

His weakness in the area of experience on the offensive line is offset by his freakish athletic abilities. At the 2013 NFL Combine, Johnson ran the 40 in a blistering 4.72, which was second to only Terron Armstead at his position. It was also .22 seconds faster than Kyle Long of the Oregon Ducks who came in third. Look at those numbers and realize that Johnson is 6-6 and over 300 pounds. He also finished first in the broad jump (118.0). His vertical leap was higher than Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver A.J. Green and he ran a faster 40 than San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

One team looking for help in the offensive tackle position is the Kansas City Chiefs, who should grab Luke Joeckel with the first pick. After that, any number of teams could use help at the position, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. With that said, Johnson could easily see his name called in the first five rounds. It is doubtful he falls any lower than seventh with the Arizona Cardinals.

Lane Johnson 2013 NFL Draft Predicted Pick: Detroit Lions, 5th pick

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