Chargers Set to Choose Once On Draft's Second Day

2022 NFL Draft - Round 1

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The Los Angeles Chargers have the 15th choice in the third round of the NFL draft today, one day after selecting Boston College guard Zion Johnson in the first round.

The second and third rounds of the seven-round draft will be conducted Friday. The Chargers dealt their second-round choice to the Chicago Bears in March as part of the trade to acquire outside linebacker Khalil Mack.

Teams have seven minutes to make their selections in the second round and five minutes in the third.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 316-pound Johnson was selected for seven All- America teams for the 2021 season -- The Associated Press, ESPN, CBS Sports, Walter Camp Foundation, Pro Football Focus, Reese's Senior Bowl and American Football Coaches Association.

Johnson allowed zero pressures in 2021, according to ESPN's advanced statistics and just one sack in 2,288 career snaps with the Eagles. ESPN listed Johnson with just four blown blocks in 756 snaps in the 2021 season.

"I know it's not the sexiest pick in the world, but he's tough, he's durable, he's smart,'' Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. We have some excellent skill players, both at receiver, tight end, also at running back and (quarterback) Justin Herbert. These guys cannot do their jobs without a rock-solid offensive line.

"So, as much as this pick is to protect our quarterback, which is a big part of it, this is also to facilitate everybody else. It's pass-protection, it's run game. We're in the second half of the game and we have a lead and we've got to run the ball, they know we're going to run the ball, he's going to help there.

"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.'' Johnson called his selection by the Chargers ``so unexpected.''

"I was mid-conversation when I got the call,'' Johnson told reporters on a conference call. ``I'm just so excited to be in L.A. for the first time and to see all the coaches and meet all of my teammates. It's awesome.''

Of the 42 analysts cited on the team's website, only Dane Brugler of The Athletic predicted the Chargers would selection Johnson. The most frequently mentioned players for the Chargers' selection were Ohio State receiver Chris Olave and Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning, with six predictions each. Olave was chosen 11th by the New Orleans Saints, who selected Penning eight picks later.

Bucky Brooks of called Johnson ``a scrappy interior blocker with a versatile game that suits any system. The Boston College star climbs quickly to the second level with superb balance and body control while flashing enough knock-back power to blow defenders out of the hole.''

Johnson is projected to play right guard for the Chargers, Telesco said. Johnson started 11 games at left guard and one at left tackle for Boston College in 2021, and was an All-ACC first-team selection after being a second- team selection in 2019 and a third-team selection in 2020.

Johnson became the Eagles' starting left guard in week seven of the 2019 season, his first with Boston College after spending the first two seasons of his college career at Davidson. He played at left tackle in 2020.

"He'll have to make a little transition there, but I'm not worried about it,'' Telesco said.

Since the start of the common draft era in 1967, 14 players selected 17th have made a Pro Bowl, including safety Derwin James Jr. who the Chargers took with the pick in 2018, the only other time in the common draft era they picked 17th.

Three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have been the 17th choice -- guards Gene Upshaw and Steve Hutchinson and running back Emmitt Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader.

Johnson was selected to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Football Team all three of his seasons with the Eagles. Minimum academic requirements for selection to the All-ACC Academic Team are a 3.0 grade point average for the previous semester and a 3.0 cumulative average during one's academic career. Athletic achievements during the most recent season are also considered in selecting the All-ACC Academic Team.

Johnson was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy in both 2020 and 2021. The trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. Herbert was the 2019 winner.

Johnson received a degree in computer science and played as a graduate student in 2021 when he was enrolled in the Woods College of Advancing Studies with a focus on cybersecurity policy and governance.

The Chargers have eight choices on the final day of the draft when the fourth through seventh rounds are conducted, one each in the fourth and fifth rounds, two in the sixth and four in the seventh.

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