July 28, 2022
Training camp's begun, excitement for the 2022 season is at a fever pitch, and preseason debate and rankings are funneling in across the NFL.
The "Madden 23 ratings" were released in full last week, Lane Johnson was ranked the top right tackle in football by Trench Warfare, ESPN's Ryan Clark has the Eagles winning the NFC East, and now, led by Johnson, several Eagles cracked Pro Football Network's Top 100 Players list heading into 2022.
Published Thursday morning, PFN's goal was to evaluate and rank a given player's dominance at their position in a vacuum, making it possible for offensive tackles and defensive players to hold up better in a process that traditionally favors skill positions (QB, WR, RB).
Johnson, entering his 10th season, came in at No. 25.
"If not for mounting injuries over the past few seasons, Lane Johnson would still probably be considered one of the 10 or so most dominant players in the NFL. Unfortunately, the athletic marvel only played just over 400 snaps in 2020 and has missed time in each season dating back to 2015.
"Johnson’s athleticism has made so many discount the power he generates as a run blocker, which has become increasingly important as the Eagles’ offense became a run-dominant team with Jalen Hurts at QB.
"Johnson’s athleticism already overwhelms most pass rushers, but it’s the versatility in his hands and the consistency in which he lands unique strikes that makes him such a dominant pass protector. Nothing a tackle does is prettier than Johnson’s fake strike to make a rusher show his cards, just to have Johnson counter with the strike necessary to counter the rusher’s primary plan." [PFN]
The Eagles got by in the back half of last season with a relentless rushing attack, made possible through one of the best offensive lines in the league. Johnson is a major piece to that group, along with veteran center Jason Kelce, who was ranked 97th by PFN.
Receiver A.J. Brown was ranked 53rd thanks heavily to his strength in gaining yards after the catch, and cornerback Darius Slay came in at No. 95 fresh off a Pro Bowl season.
The Eagles' rankings straight down the order:
• No. 25: Lane Johnson, OT
• No. 53: A.J. Brown, WR
• No. 95: Darius Slay, CB
• No. 97: Jason Kelce
The first practice of Eagles training camp was held Wednesday, and though it was kept pretty brief, there were a few observations to make from it that our own Jimmy Kempski wrote out HERE.
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