Los Angeles Chargers draft Zion Johnson 17th overall in 2022 NFL Draft

Zion Johnson was drafted 17th overall by the Chargers in the 2022 NFL Draft -- what is his rookie contract and fit on the depth chart?

With the 17th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers selected Boston College OL Zion Johnson. What will Johnson’s rookie contract look like, and where does he project into the Chargers’ current depth chart?

Zion Johnson drafted 17th overall by Los Angeles Chargers

Johnson earned first-team selections to both the All-ACC and All-American teams in 2021. His selection in the first round makes him the fifth Boston College offensive lineman selected in the first round since 2000. The last Boston College offensive lineman selected in the first round was Chris Lindstrom at 14th overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2019.

Johnson’s projected rookie contract

Because Johnson was the 17th overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, this is what his projected rookie contract should look like. Contract numbers are from Over the Cap.

  • Total Value: $16.7 million
  • Signing Bonus: $9.3 million
  • 2022 Base Salary: $705,000
  • 2022 Cap Number: $3.0 million

Johnson’s strengths and areas to improve

Here is a snapshot of what the Chargers will be getting with the selection of Johnson. For further information, check out Johnson’s full scouting report.

Strengths

  • Nasty, has a wide-bodied build, and looks to erase defenders from the action
  • Blocks with proper lean, stays square, and anchors at the point
  • Moves well about the field, fires out to the second level, and squares into linebackers to remove them from the action

Areas for improvement

  • Must do a better job of properly placing his hands into defenders
  • Needs to be conscious of keeping his balance
  • Doesn’t have twitchy lateral agility to respond and recover

How does Johnson project in the Chargers’ depth chart?

Johnson makes all the sense in the world for the Chargers, who are having themselves arguably the best offseason of any NFL team. It was a bit surprising not seeing Trevor Penning’s name called. However, they needed one of the spots on the right side filled, and Johnson is arguably better at his position than Penning is at his.

Protecting Justin Herbert is the only thing that should matter to the Chargers. They couldn’t secure him a speed threat at receiver, and offensive line was a more significant need. He’ll slide right into the starting role and also help the Chargers’ rushing attack, which struggled to gain ground running to the right side last season.

When do the Chargers pick next in the 2022 NFL Draft?

As of the time they drafted Johnson, the Chargers have these remaining picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.

  • Round 3 (Pick 79)
  • Round 4 (Pick 123)
  • Round 5 (Pick 160)
  • Round 6 (Pick 195)
  • Round 6 (Pick 214*)
  • Round 7 (Pick 236)
  • Round 7 (Pick 254*)
  • Round 7 (Pick 255*)
  • Round 7 (Pick 260*)

*Compensatory picks

For the full results and upcoming draft order, check out our pick-by-pick tracker for the 2022 NFL Draft.

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