Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lane Johnson Could Be Lions' First-Round Pick at No. 5

Luke Joeckel is the leading candidate to go No. 1 overall in next month's draft and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher is widely considered a top-five pick.

But if the Lions are looking to fill their vacant left tackle job with a rookie, there's a third option they might consider at No. 5 overall: Oklahoma's Lane Johnson.

Johnson played for Lions coaches at the Senior Bowl, so don't expect to hear much buildup on him coming from Allen Park.

But he impressed the organization during his time in Mobile, Ala., and is someone who could have an immediate impact despite being relatively new to the position.

Johnson played one semester of quarterback in junior college before switching to tight end, and only became an offensive lineman two years ago at Oklahoma. At the NFL combine last month, he did 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and had the second-fastest 40-yard dash time among linemen at 4.72 seconds.

"I redshirted my first year as a tight end. Then the following year, I beefed up a little bit," Johnson said at the combine. "I was around 280, playing tight end and defensive end. During that next spring, Jarvis Jones, our right tackle, went down. Coach (Bob) Stoops asked me if I wanted to play it. I told him no at first. Then in one of the pass-rush drills they switched me there, and I've been stuck there ever since." (Miami Herald)
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