Oklahoma Sooners tackle Lane Johnson impressed scouts with a 4.72-second 40-yard dash, but he used to be faster. Johnson began his college football career as a quarterback, then switched to tight end and defensive end before finding his role as an offensive tackle. Along the way he gained weight, and lost a little bit of speed.
Johnson, who was lightly recruited as a quarterback out of high school, went to junior college where he switched to tight end and caught the eye of the Sooners. "I was weighing about 255 and ran a 4.5 40," Johnson said.
After a red shirt year at Oklahoma, Johnson beefed up to 280 and played tight end and defensive end before the opportunity on the offensive line came, Johnson explains:
"During that next spring, Jarvis Jones, our right tackle, went down. Coach 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," Johnson said.
He is happy with his new role as a star along the offensive line, but admits he misses parts of being a quarterback. "There’s nothing like a touchdown pass. If I had a chance to do it again I would," he said.
Johnson believes his time at quarterback helped him develop as a lineman. "When you’re playing quarterback, you kind of know where things are coming from, defensive linemen, where blitzes are coming from," Johnson said.
Now Johnson is up to 303 pounds and is expected to put on even more weight in the pros, but his athleticism remains his best skill. Before running through the drills, Johnson said, "I’m trying to break the combine record in the 40 and probably the broad jump."
Although he was beaten out by one-hundredth of a second by Arkansas Pine-Bluff tackle Terron Armstead, Johnson should be happy with his performance, which could move him up even higher on draft boards. Prior to the combine, he was the 23rd-ranked player on the Mocking the Draft big board and the third-rated tackle in the 2013 NFL Draft.