Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson held court with reporters after Tuesday’s practice and spoke at length on a range of topics. The always-entertaining offensive lineman shed light on Carson Wentz’s insane work ethic, going up against Brandon Graham in practice and Josh Sweat’s potential.
When speaking about Sweat, Johnson took on the role of NFL scout and compared Sweat to Jadeveon Clowney. Sweat, a fourth-round draft pick in 2018, missed significant time last season due to a lingering knee injury. Fully healthy, Sweat has been winning over his peers at training camp.
“Equivalent to Clowney, as far as his speed, only thing that has hampered him was his knee,” Johnson told reporters. “I think he’s a pretty good damn player. I told him I expect big things from him and I think he’ll do big things this year. It’s just the way I see it and I think I’m a pretty good evaluator of talent.”
Sweat, a pass-rushing specialist out of Florida State, has been rehabbing that knee this offseason and added weight to bulk up. ESPN recently listed Sweat on their Young Players Who Could Break Out in 2019, while he competes for snaps in a defensive-end rotation with limited experience behind the starters. Sweat only had 14.5 sacks in college, but his immeasurables are off the charts, including 4.52 speed.
Johnson Jokes About Concussions & Brandon Graham
Johnson gets to see the best and worst of the Eagles’ starting defensive ends every day in practice, so he knows their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone in the league. The right tackle endured a grueling day against them in the 96-degree heat Tuesday, with beads of sweat dripping off his glowing bald head. Still, he stood there and answered every question thrown his way and heaped a ton of praise on one particular defensive end, Brandon Graham.
“He always seems underrated. I’d say the guy’s probably one of the best in the league, year in and year out,” Johnson said. “It’s been like this for the past six, seven years. Every time I go up against him, he’s bringing it to me and I’m bringing it to him.”
Then, Johnson seemed to poke fun at the NFL’s disregard for brain injuries by alluding Graham might be the reason for possible memory loss after he retires.
“He’ll probably be the main reason why I can’t remember anything in like 10 to 20 years from now,” Johnson said. “He’s just a great teammate, great player.”
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s Highlight-Reel Play
Rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside hauled in the highlight-reel play of the day when he took a short pass, on a tipped ball from Carson Wentz, and ran it 80 yards down the field for a touchdown. It was the first play on live tackling during team drills, too.
The Eagles have been trying to pump the brakes on the excitement surrounding the big target out of Stanford, but his talents are hard to hide. Arcega-Whiteside hasn’t looked nervous at all since arriving in Philadelphia. Credit Zach Ertz for helping calm him down back during OTAs.
“Ertz looked at me and said, ‘Hey man, just have fun. You deserve to be here’ and all that [nervousness] went away,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “Ever since then, it kind of hit me that I’m here and I’m part of this team, and I belong here.”
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