2022 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: IOL Zion Johnson, Boston College

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Zion Johnson, IOL

Height: 6’3
Weight: 312 pounds.
To classify: Senior
The school: Boston College
Arm length: 34″
Knack : 10 ⅝”


Zion Johnson first played college football at Davidson, appearing in 22 games with 19 starts along the offensive line. He did not receive scholarships from top notch programs outside of high school.

Johnson was named to the All-Pioneer League first team as a sophomore before transferring to Boston College, an academically renowned program. He was a 6’3, 265-pound offensive lineman fresh out of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, where he attended Riverdale Baptist High School — the same high school as Penn State’s Tariq Castro-Fields — before starting his college career. . at Davidson.

Notable

A three-year-old starter who was an immediate impact player for the Boston College Eagles. Was the starting left guard in 2019 and 2021, but started LT in 2020 (and in a game of 2021). Allowed 22 squeezes and two sacks in 2020 as an LT, and only 14 squeezes and a sack on guard. Was first team All-ACC in 2021, second team in 2019 and third team in 2020 as a tackle. Was All-ACC academic honors and a team captain in 2020 and 2021.

Johnson attended Reese’s Senior Bowl and had a fantastic week; he may have solidified himself as a first-round pick. He’s always taken snaps well after practice at center – a position he’s never played. He then attended the Combine and various reports explained how many teams liked his character and leadership. Here are Johnson’s combined numbers:

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  • 40 yards to the dash: 5.18
  • Bench press: 32
  • Vertical jump: 32″
  • Long Jump: 112″
  • 3-taper drill: 7.38
  • Short shuttle: 4.46

Strengths

  • Good size and length
  • Excellent athletic ability with rare flexibility in his lower half
  • Change direction well; can pivot with one foot and quickly redistribute weight
  • Play with good balance
  • Very good foot speed and good overall agility
  • Does a great job moving laterally and staying straight at targets
  • Highly effective run blocker that’s very smart – adjust assignments mid-game if needed
  • Does a very good job framing his blocks
  • Works well with angles in space and locating defenders
  • Takes excellent power measurements in contact
  • Fast, heavy, hands to engage – good grip strength
  • Has solid pop in his hands, readjusts with low leverage to find optimal placement to control defenders
  • Solid functional strength to play OG in the NFL
  • Excellent at combo bouldering, has a good sense of when to break contact and climb
  • Does a great job pivoting his hips and positioning his back between defenders and holes after initiating contact as a run blocker
  • Lowers and unrolls hips on contact, bending knees and exploding through the floor – maximizes own strength
  • Very good pass guard
  • Good anchorage when absorbing contact, the flexibility of the hips allows it to absorb power rushers well
  • The feet are quick to reflect; when balanced, he keeps his feet moving side to side, reflecting the rushers intentions of winning at half man
  • Strong ability to pick up stunts
  • Versatile – can play tackle in a pinch but is more of an inside offensive lineman

Can improve

  • Looks small in its pre-snap position
  • Not a bulldozer guard type – but has solid functional strength
  • Gives ground against power when he allows rushers into his frame (when he can’t fully arch his back without manual control)
  • Upper body can bend over the toes if going for an aggressive punch and then puffs

Summary

Overall, Zion Johnson is a great addition to any team’s offensive line. He is a tall athlete with a unique curvature in his lower half. Johnson maximizes his strength with good technique, leverage, and effective footwork/technique when driving force through the ground in contact.

His grounding, foot speed, flexibility and punch are more than enough. He is a good run and pass blocker who is well balanced, smart on the volley, with big heavy hands. He’s not a complete mover in one-on-one guard situations, but his playing strength and power are functional traits that don’t get in the way of his advantage. He would immediately improve the New York Giants’ interior offensive line, but I doubt he’ll be available to them at pick 36.

TO NOTE: 6.74


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