Is Eagles star Lane Johnson on a Hall of Fame track?

Is Eagles star Lane Johnson on a Hall of Fame track? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

With Jason Kelce, it’s not even a question anymore.

The news Wednesday that Kelce had made his seventh Pro Bowl only hammered home what we already knew. He'll be a Hall of Famer.

He’s done enough. Whether or not he does decide to continue his career beyond 2023, his credentials are ironclad.

He’s now got seven Pro Bowls to go with five 1st-team All-Pro honors, a 10-year streak without missing a start, two Super Bowl appearances and one championship. Every other center in NFL history who’s been an All-Pro five times is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, from Bulldog Turner of the Bears in the 1940s to Dermontti Dawson of the Steelers in the 1990s. This year's All-Pro teams will be announced later this month.

But what about Lane Johnson? Will he ever join his close friend and long-time teammate in Canton?

Johnson is 2 ½ years younger than Kelce, signed through 2027, still playing as well as ever, and while it may be a little early for the Hall of Fame conversation, Johnson is piling up the sort of honors that the Hall voters notice.

Johnson was named to his fifth NFC Pro Bowl team on Wednesday, and even though the Pro Bowl game itself has become an irrelevant skills competition, the honor is important for Hall of Fame candidates. Especially on the offensive line, where there are no real stats to measure. So Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams are one of the first things the voters look for.

And Johnson’s resume just keeps growing.

“I think he's been such a great player for longer than he's been given the national credit for it,” Kelce said Thursday. “Really, his whole career he's been, if not the best, one of the best tackles every year, especially this past year, on the right side. So I think for him to get another one toward the end of his career can go a long way for what I think is hopefully a very legitimate case for him getting in there.”

Let’s take a look at where Johnson stands in his potential Hall of Fame candidacy.

The magic number for offensive tackles is really seven. Fifteen of 18 offensive tackles who’ve made seven or more Pro Bowls are in the Hall of Fame – that’s all but Eagles nemesis Lomas Brown of the Lions; George Kunz, who played for the Falcons and Colts in the 1970s; and Richmond Webb, the long-time Dolphins left tackle. That doesn't include Jim Tyrer, who's been denied the Hall because of non-football reasons.

But Brown and Kunz only made 1st-team All-Pro once – Webb did twice – and none of the three ever won a Super Bowl.

Johnson is already a two-time All-Pro and has a shot at a third this year, although Penei Sewell and Trent Williams have both had very good years as well.

But even without more All-Pros, if Johnson keeps adding to his Pro Bowl total, he’ll be in the conversation. Jason Peters, Kelce and Johnson’s former teammate, is close to a Hall of Fame lock, and he only made 1st-team All-Pro twice – in 2011 and 2013. But he was also a seven-time Pro Bowler.

There have been 36 offensive linemen who’ve made seven Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams and are eligible for the Hall of Fame, and only seven of them haven’t been enshrined in the Hall. Among o-linemen with seven Pro Bowls, two All-Pros and a Super Bowl ring (or NFL championship), 16 of 18 are Hall of Famers.

Johnson isn’t there yet, but two more Pro Bowls give him pretty good odds. Add another All-Pro selection and those odds get even better.

And like Kelce said, Johnson really got robbed in the prime of his career when he didn’t make the Pro Bowl or All-Pro in 2020 or 2021, when he was the best tackle in the league.

It really hasn't been until the last few years that Johnson has finally been recognized for what he is. An all-time great offensive tackle.

“Typically guys that get national attention are guys that make a lot of high-level blocks or splashy blocks that get shown on TV,” Kelce said. “He also got overshadowed by J.P. (Jason Peters) early in his career, I think that's part of it. Jason was at such a high level across the board maybe people didn’t think we could have two tackles who were that good. And then there were the PED suspensions (in 2014 and 2016) and stuff like that.

“So I think all that stuff probably slowed people's opinions on him but as he's continually played at such a consistently high level for as long as he has, I think people are really realizing now how special he is.”