The Los Angeles Chargers selected former Boston College offensive lineman Zion Johnson with the 17th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night. It marks the second time in four years that a BC offensive lineman has been drafted in the first round in the NFL draft.
“He’s built the way you want an offensive lineman to be built,” analyst Booger McFarland said on ESPN’s broadcast after Johnson’s selection. “He can be strong from the lower half. … Can play center. He’s a very, very good guard, a guard that can move people.”
Johnson is the first Eagle to be drafted in the first round since the Atlanta Falcons selected Chris Lindstrom with the 14th overall pick in 2019.
After starting his college career at Davidson, Johnson transferred to BC following his sophomore season and spent the next three years on the Heights. He played his first year under former Eagles head coach Steve Addazio and the next two under Jeff Hafley. Johnson suited up in every game since he arrived at BC and started every game since the beginning of the 2020 season.
A member of the All-ACC team and a number of All-American teams in 2021, Johnson entered the draft with a prospect grade of 6.34 and a Next Gen Stats grade of 88, according to the NFL’s website. Johnson was also named to the All-ACC Second Team in 2019 and the Third Team in 2020.
Weighing in at 312 pounds and standing at 6-foot-3, Johnson will add depth and versatility to the Chargers’ offensive line. During the 2022 Senior Bowl, Johnson displayed his ability to play both guard and center after spending his time at BC primarily at guard. He also owned the best PFF grade among ACC guards in 2021 at 84.4.
Johnson impressed at the NFL combine as well, recording a 5.18 second 40-yard dash, 32 reps on the bench press, and a 32-inch vertical jump. Scouts have praised his “wide, strong base” alertness and intelligence on the field. NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projected the Arizona Cardinals to select Johnson with the 23rd pick in his final mock draft.
Johnson, the 21st first-round pick in Eagles history, will look to make an immediate impact in Los Angeles protecting quarterback Justin Herbert.
While Johnson got to walk up on the stage and shake NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand in Las Vegas, his teammate Alec Lindstrom, Chris Lindstrom’s brother who led the offensive line with Johnson this past season at BC, will have to wait at least another day before hearing his name called.