Lane Johnson and Landry Jones each spent the week leading up to Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., making strong impressions on NFL scouts.
Both former Oklahoma standouts had something to prove; Johnson, whose strong senior season might've elevated him into first-round status, remains relatively inexperienced at his offensive tackle position.
And for Jones, questions regarding consistency and his lack of experience in more traditional, under-center offenses won't go away anytime soon — especially after he struggled in Saturday's game.
The Senior Bowl represents just one stop for the two former Sooners on the long road between now and Thursday, April 25, when the 2013 NFL Draft kicks off.
But the week was important, as each were able to showcase their talent with different teammates and in an unfamiliar environment.
Johnson began skyrocketing in mock drafts about midway through last season, continuing his unique path from junior-college quarterback to potential first-round NFL offensive tackle.
The 6-foot-7, 303-pounder started off as a quarterback at Kilgore College, but switched to tight end, which is where he began his Oklahoma career. He changed to defensive end, then started 12 games at offensive tackle his junior year.
Early in fall camp before his senior season, Johnson wasn't even expected to start, but he overtook Tyrus Thompson and continued his meteoric rise throughout the season.
NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks wrote this week that, “Johnson has demonstrated impressive footwork, balance and body control while snuffing out pass rushers in drills. In one-on-one drills, Johnson's capacity to anchor and redirect rushers has earned him high marks from scouts closely monitoring his game.”
Two other NFL.com analysts — Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis — currently project Johnson as a top-20 pick; Jeremiah has the former Sooner going at No. 16 to the St. Louis Rams, and Davis puts Johnson at No. 20 to the Bears.