When the Chargers were on the clock during this year’s draft, they could have gone in a number of directions. Offensive tackle Trevor Penning was still one the board and had been mocked to the Bolts over and over again leading up to the first round. Wide receiver Treylon Burks and several top cornerbacks were also still available, but the Chargers ultimately went with the best and most pro-ready player on their board.
Despite likely having been a surprise for a number of fans at the time, the dust has long settled and those same fans are likely over the moon at the amount of hype surrounding their latest first-round rookie.
In fact, NFL.com’s Chad Reuter already predicts that Johnson will be one of the top rookies at his position which is why he included the 2022 17th-overall pick as one of two guards on his recent All-Rookie Offensive Team.
“The Chargers were in dire need of improving the right side of their offensive line, so their selection of Johnson to shore up the guard spot made sense,” says Reuter. “He’ll work together with whichever veteran wins the right tackle job (potentially Storm Norton or Trey Pipkins) to protect quarterback Justin Herbert against a tough group of AFC West pass rushers.”
Knowing just how far Johnson has come from playing at a FCS program such as Davidson, one that also doesn’t give full-ride scholarships for football, it’s easy to believe this is nowhere near the end of his astronomical drive that has carried him so swiftly through his playing career.
Zion Johnson… amazing player and even better human— WeAreBigGuys (@WeAreBigGuys) April 29, 2022
Chargers got a good one pic.twitter.com/3JFxmG5wSi
Will Johnson make it back-to-back years of a Chargers rookie offensive lineman finding himself on an All-Pro team by the end of his first professional season? While the chances are certainly low for such a thing, would it honestly be that much of a surprise to anyone after getting to know this outstanding young man? I’m not so sure it would.
As for the rest of Reuter’s All-Rookie Offensive Team, the group is quarterbacked by the Steelers’ Kenny Pickett, followed by running backs James Cook and Dameon Pierce, receivers George Pickens and Christian Watson, and tight end Greg Dulcich. Johnson is joined on the offensive line by Seattle’s Charles Cross, the Giants’ Evan Neal, Logan Bruss of the Rams, and Ravens center Tyler Linderbaum.