Chargers plug up o-line with Zion

(News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Chargers selected Zion Johnson With the 17th pick in this year’s NFL Draft. The 22-year-old guard out of Boston College could come in and start right away, addressing an immediate need for the Chargers on the right side of their offensive line.

When talking to the media following the selection, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco seems confident Johnson will make an impact this season.

“He’s tough, he’s durable, he’s smart. We have some excellent skill players… and with (QB) Justin Herbert, obviously, these guys cannot do their jobs without a rock-solid offensive line… So, if he does what we think he can do, he’s going to play 900 to 1,000 snaps for us in his rookie year, but he’s a really well-rounded football player, so we’re excited to get him in here,” said Telesco.

Los Angeles will look to put a more complete team around Justin Herbert in the coming season. Johnson will help what was already the fifth-ranked offense in the National Football League last season averaging 27.9 points a game.

Unfortunately, they also ranked twenty-ninth out of thirty-two teams when it came to stopping their opponents from also putting up large numbers on the scoreboard.

The front office has had an eventful offseason prior to the draft, making several splash moves to sure up the defense. The team added All-Pro cornerback J.C. Jackson via free agency and former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack in a trade with Chicago. The moves come after missing the playoffs last year for a third consecutive time.

Drafting an offensive lineman is never an exciting pick, but Johnson is exactly what the team needed. After adding several veteran game-changing playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, and also extending wide receiver Mike Williams earlier this offseason, making sure Herbert has protection was the right move.

“He was the top player on our board at the time that we picked, at 17. It was a unanimous feeling from our scouts to our coaching staff. In all the evaluation components for this guy, he really excelled,” said Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.

Staley also highlighted Johnson’s football IQ and physicality, adding that the former Boston College star is “impressive” and calling him “smart, tough, physical, and versatile.”

The competition in the AFC West Division is going to be as tough as ever with all of the moves that have been made this offseason. The Denver Broncos acquired quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks.

The Las Vegas Raiders snagged wide receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers, and the Kansas City Chiefs have won the division for six consecutive years. Every single team is in win-now mode. Johnson will help contribute to the battle in the trenches which could ultimately make the difference in this loaded division.

“I would say the number one thing that I pride myself on is the mental part of the game,” Johnson said. “Just seeing the defense while knowing your assignment on every play and being able to help out the offensive linemen around you. The secondary thing I would say is my physicality. I sort of pride myself on being able to absorb those rushes.”

Featured Image Caption: Boston College offensive lineman Zion Johnson was tabbed by the Los Angeles Chargers with the No. 17 selection in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline