The Chargers get their man. A blindside protector for Phil Rivers. An uber-athletic speciman who also happens to be a quality football player as well.
The San Diego Chargers are proud to select:
Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson
Height 6'6", Weight 303 LBS, Arm Length 35 1/4", Hands 10 1/8"
Overview: Colleges have been converting tight ends into offensive tackles for years in order to maximize the athleticism of outside linemen consistently facing defensive ends with speed and power. Johnson showed the chops to make this transition as a starting right tackle in 2011, though his search for a home position was more complex than it is for most promising NFL prospects.
He was an honorable mention all-state quarterback in Texas as a high school senior (and a fourth-place finisher in the shot put at the state’s track championships), and then began his college career playing limited snaps at that position for Kilgore Junior College (510 yards, two touchdowns). After redshirting his first year with the Sooners as a tight end in 2009, Johnson failed to make any statistics in seven games played at tight end and defensive end the following year. In the spring of 2011, he begrudgingly moved from end to the offensive line due to injuries on that side of the ball. He didn't start the season opener against Tulsa, but lined up at right tackle for every game the rest of the year. Johnson continued that streak in 2012, this time at left tackle in place of the departed Donald Stephenson. He started 11 of 13 games on the left side and picked up an All-Big 12 second-team mention from coaches.
Strengths: Uses his athleticism well, displaying good foot quickness to mirror pass rushers off the edge to deny them the corner and adjust to their inside moves. Easily reaches second-level targets when pulled outside or stepping up in the box, and sustains the block. Generally plays with good pad level and balance despite his height, and can fire out from a three-point stance and generate a bit of push on run plays. Johnson's feet keep moving through initial contact, allowing him to get into the correct blocking angle while engaged. He also uses his hands and length well to maintain distance with the defender. NFL coaches will like that he plays with an attitude, as he looks willing to hand-fight with defensive ends, usually landing multiple strong punches, and will consistently finish blocks with a strong arm extension.
Weaknesses: Lack of experience on the offensive line is a concern, so putting another strong season on tape will be a boon to his draft stock. Height will always be an issue when trying to get leverage against veteran pro defensive linemen, must continue to add strength throughout his frame to control and anchor.
NFL Comparison: Riley Reiff
Bottom Line: Johnson was a high school quarterback and a backup at his junior college at that position for one season before moving to tight end, defensive end and then finally right tackle during his first three seasons with the Sooners. He finally got his shot on the left side in 2012 and was as reliable as ever. Scouts saw the potential in Johnson grow throughout the 2011 and 2012 seasons due to his athleticism, strength, and solid technique despite his lack of experience. Expect his name to be mentioned frequently throughout the process.