When the Eagles drafted Cam Jurgens with their second-round pick, the outside world was no longer privy to veteran center Jason Kelce’s feelings about the situation.

“This is my favorite player in the draft,” Kelce said of Jurgens in real time. “The Eagles used me to evaluate centers...of all the guys I’ve looked at, he is the one I compare the most to myself.”

The Eagles are hopeful to have a contingency plan in place as Kelce enters his 12th NFL season. Upon the team’s final game in January, Kelce contemplated retirement before he re-signed a one-year deal, an indication the end of his playing career could be near.

While that change might be looming, another veteran, 10-year right tackle Lane Johnson, is eagerly enjoying every moment. During a Saturday afternoon meetup with The Inquirer, Johnson discussed the team’s recent additions — including star wide receiver A.J. Brown, top pick Jordan Davis and Jurgens — and looked ahead to the upcoming season.

“It’s all going by really fast,” Johnson said from the front steps of Carl’s Cards and Collectibles in Havertown. “I’m excited about the young guys, the draft picks that we just got. I think Kelce really liked Jurgens and Tyler Linderbaum from Iowa. I know Kelce watched a lot of film on those two guys just to help Stout [offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] and the front office find somebody who fits a similar mold of his playstyle. Cam seems fast, athletic, can really do everything on the football field and he sets the tempo. I’m glad we got him in our room.

“... With Kelce coming back, I kind of knew he was coming back. I felt it. He didn’t have to say anything at the end of the season, I kind of just saw his body language and knew he was coming back. He wasn’t ready to call it just yet.

“This upcoming season is going to mean a little bit more because I’ve spent so many years with him. We’re the closest of friends. That’s who I sit next to in meetings, in the dining room, everywhere we go — we’re always together. Having him back for one more year, we’re the two older guys. He’s someone I’m going to lay it out on the line for any day, any time. I love him like a brother. I want him to have a good season and help him finish out his career strong.”

Johnson also opened up about the bittersweet feelings he experienced after Brandon Brooks hung up his cleats.

“Brandon Brooks is one of the best players — maybe the best player — I’ve ever played with,” Johnson said. “I feel like he never got the credit he deserved. He was the best guard in the league for the years he was in. More importantly, he’s such a good friend. I know he’s happy with retirement, he’s got a lot of stuff away from the field he’s got working. Would’ve loved to have won another ring with him, but I know Brandon will be cheering us on.”

Before the Eagles selected Jurgens on Day 2 of the draft, they acquired Brown from the Titans in exchange for two picks. The team subsequently signed Brown to a four-year extension worth $100 million with $57 million in guaranteed salary. Brown will immediately elevate the team’s passing game and serve as a complement to fellow wide receiver DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert. Johnson labeled the addition of Brown as “franchise-altering.”

“You get a guy of A.J.’s caliber, it’s going to open up opportunity for other players,” Johnson said. “I’m telling you now — the defense is going to have to double team somebody, so whether it takes pressure off and creates one-on-one opportunities for DeVonta or Dallas, whoever is out there. Having a big-time weapon like A.J. Brown is going to be absolutely huge.”

Johnson recently returned to the Philadelphia area after he spent a majority of his offseason training at a new gym he opened together with his former college teammate, Tom Wort, in Edmond, Okla. Besides working out six times a week, Johnson counts fishing and hunting as his top hobbies. He also attended WrestleMania at the beginning of April at AT&T Stadium. After the popular event, Johnson caught up with good friend, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

“It was the first time I had ever been to anything like that,” he said. “It was wild. As a kid, I watched Stone Cold on TV. I went on his podcast a couple of years back. But it was cool seeing him do his thing. After 20 years off, him coming back, when the glass broke — things went crazy inside the arena. He’s been keeping the same energy.”

As for Johnson possibly pursuing wrestling or action sports as a career post-football?

“I‘ve thought about it,” Johnson said. “If I play a few more years, I’ll be 35. I feel like I could do it, but it’s a lot of work; they train just as hard as we do.”

Before zooming away in his all-black Ram Rebel TRX, Johnson discussed one more teammate he holds in high regard.

“I love Jalen Hurts,” Johnson said. “I feel like today’s NFL, we put too much expectations on these [young quarterbacks]. You look at Peyton Manning, he threw 18 interceptions his rookie year. With Jalen, he has that dynamic ability to run and throw the football. I know he’s been working diligently at improving his passing game; it certainly helps we’re getting him a good supporting cast. He’s only 23, about to be 24 years old. He’s a young man, who has a lot to learn about the game.

“It’s so big for us to have a dynamic quarterback like him. It elevates the run game, opens up the pass game. I believe this year, it’s just going to be a coming out party for Jalen. He’s going to get better and better.”