By Michael Kinney
NORMAN — Lane Johnson couldn’t have been in a better position. Heading into Oklahoma’s Pro Day Wednesday, there were very few questions that needed to be answered about the 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive tackle.
So while 25 other teammates and former Sooners were trying to impress NFL scouts at the Everest Training Center, Johnson was able to sit back, watch and even leave early for a flight to Carolina.
“I feel good,” Johnson said. “Did everything I could at the combine. Did all the drills. Played in the Senior Bowl. Got everything accomplished that I wanted to. The hay is in the barn. Now you just kind of sit back and see what happens.”
Johnson made a big enough impression at the NFL combine last month that all he did at the OU Pro Day was have his measurements taken. With him being a projected high first round pick, there was no need to go through other drills such as the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle and group workouts.
Yet, Johnson was just happy to be around his Oklahoma teammates one last time as he waits for draft night, which he is hoping to spend in New York with the other possible first round picks.
“It’s been nice, “ Johnson said. “I have been hanging out with a bunch of them before pro day. Got to catch up on some things, see some of the young guys that are in spring practice right now. I kind of feel for them.”
The entire process has been a blur for Johnson. The Groveton, Texas native has played quarterback, tight end and left tackle in college. Despite a strong senior season, it wasn’t until after he graduated that NFL teams really began to take notice of the athletic lineman who ran a 4.67 at the combine.
“Going into the senior bowl, I think they had me at third round” Johnson said. “Then after showing them what I could do there, then the combine just built on itself. It’s right where I want to be. It’s gone by so fast, just trying to grasp it all.”
While Johnson was able to skip out on the drills, the rest of the Sooners wanted to improve their draft stock. That included quarterback Landry Jones, who went through 30 minutes of passing drills.
Jones had only a couple of incompletions, which he chalked up to a bit of nervousness.
“You are nervous about it,” Jones said. “I was nervous. It’s natural. You are coming out here and it’s a job interview. You are pretty typically going to be nervous for a job interview. But I thought I competed well. Did I complete every ball? No. But in a football game, you’re not going to complete every ball.”
Even though Jones is expected to be picked in the late first to early second round, nothing is guaranteed. He is keeping an eye on free agent signings, but he is just waiting for a team to let him know they want him.
“This is a long process for guys,” Jones said. “On draft day you will figure out where you are going. For me, I want to know where I’m going. When Alex Smith got picked up by Kansas City, I’m probably not going to go there. But you never know where you are going to go.”
Other notables who had strong days include Javon Harris, Dominique Whaley and Casey Walker. Some not as well known Sooners such as Jesse Paulsen wowed onlookers with a 4.45 in the 40 and a 39.5 inch vertical jump.
One of the more peculiar workouts belonged to safety Tony Jefferson. After he ran a 4.75 at the combine, many expected him to try and improve upon that time at his pro day.
However, Jefferson decided not to run the 40 for the more than 30 scouts on hand. Instead he did the others drills and answered questions about the supposed schism between him and the Oklahoma coaches.
Wide receiver Kenny Stills also skipped out on running the 40-yard dash. But after the 6-foot-1, 194-pounder ran a 4.38 at the combine, he really didn’t need to run it again.
However, after first deciding against doing the rest of the drills, he did complete them at the end of the pro day.
“Just wanted to make sure my hamstring was warmed up,” Stills said. “Same hamstring that’s been bothering all college. It’s been tight since I ran the 40 at the combine. Just making sure I was fully prepared so I can run routes. Just wanted to come out, make sure I catch every thing and make sure Landry had a great day.”