Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson has seen his draft stock skyrocket following his phenomenal showing at the Senior Bowl. Early on in Mobile, scouts told WalterFootball.com that Johnson was rising into the first round. He impressed in the one-on-one pass-rushing scrimmages and is now considered the consensus No. 3 tackle prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft. That works out to Johnson likely being selected in the back half of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
WalterFootball.com caught up with Johnson to get an idea which teams were showing a lot of interest in him.
"I know Chicago really likes me,"
said Johnson. "I wouldn't mind going to the Texans; that's right by my house. I'm meeting with them. They run a good zone scheme and I wouldn't mind going there."
Johnson also met with a number of other franchises including Tampa Bay and Indianapolis. Overall, Johnson said the meetings with teams went very well, and he was eager for the opportunity to let the teams' decision-makers get to know him.
"I want to show teams what kind of character I have off the field. I want to show them I'm a man of my word," said Johnson. "I want to show them I'm a versatile guy that can play right and left, or whatever they need me to do. And I want to show them I can run block as well."
Johnson had no problems stepping up against good competition at the Senior Bowl. As a member of the South team, he had multiple opportunities to go against one of the 2013 NFL Draft's elite defensive ends, BYU's Ezekiel Ansah. Johnson fared well against Ansah.
"I was trying to match up and step up to the competition," Johnson said. "One of the guys who stood out was the guy from BYU (Ansah). Him and (Malliciah) Goodman stood out to me. "I think I handled myself well. The coach said he has a limited amount of time, so he can't coach us up on everything; and he said he won't change what we do, but if notices anything that needs to be corrected, he'd go over that."
We then asked Johnson about who was the best player he went against in 2012.
"This season, probably Alex Okafor from Texas and Devonte Fields from TCU," said Johnson. Okafor was another Senior Bowl all-star but was on the North squad.
Entering the NFL, Johnson said he would be comfortable playing any scheme. He would probably add more weight for a power-man scheme, but scouts told WalterFootball.com that they believe that won't be an issue. They felt that Johnson could easily add 10-20 pounds and that the 6-foot-6, 302 pounder hasn't maxed out his frame.
"We did some power too [in Mobile], but we were primarily a zone scheme," said Johnson. "We threw the ball a lot, so I had the opportunity to show my protection skills."
Those protection skills are likely to get Johnson drafted in the first round next April, and he could be the blind-side protector for Andrew Luck or Jay Cutler next season.