Philadelphia Eagles star Lane Johnson has spent a long time anchoring the right side of one of the NFL's best offensive lines. Johnson was the No. 4 overall pick back in 2013, and he immediately slotted in across from Jason Peters up front for Philadelphia. There was at one point a plan to eventually kick Johnson over to the left side of the line, but he was so good, so quickly on the right that he just stayed there, and he developed into one of the very best right tackles in football.
During his decade in the NFL, Johnson has obviously had the opportunity to spar with many of the league's best pass rushers. In an appearance on "The Richard Sherman Podcast," Johnson revealed who the toughest players have been for him to block. Some of the names are pretty obvious, but one, in particular, was at least a bit surprising.
"I would say Myles [Garrett]. I'll tell you, Maxx Crosby is a really good player. T.J. Watt. Those guys, man... Obviously, they're skilled, but those players, they're so smart, So, those three. Micah [Parsons]. I had some really battles with Demarcus [Lawrence]," Johnson said. "I'll tell you one guy who people don't know. You could ask Trent [Williams], you could ask Tyron [Smith], Olivier Vernon might have been the hardest player for a lot of guys to block."
Why was Vernon so difficult to block? "He's just a weird built dude," Johnson said. "He's like 6-1, 6-2, wears like a size 17, 18 shoe. Just weird built, almost like you remember how Elvis Dumervil was so special. Because he was like 5-11, 6-foot, but he had 33, 34-inch arms. So as he got that leverage under you, he would just forklift you and do whatever he wanted to you."
Here's the clip, via Volume Sports:
Johnson has gotten to face Lawrence and Parsons twice a year during their careers, but he's never actually played against Garrett (Garrett missed Cleveland's one game against Philadelphia during his career to date with COVID-19) and has squared off against Crosby and Watt just once each. Vernon picked up seven sacks in seven career games against the Eagles, including one game in 2020 where he racked up three sacks.