2022 NFL Draft: Grades for Zion Johnson and Every Other Los Angeles Chargers Pick

The Los Angeles Chargers have the most important position in sports locked up with Justin Herbert taking snaps and throwing darts all over the field, but that doesn’t mean they were devoid of needs heading into the 2022 NFL Draft

Even after handing JC Jackson a massive contract in free agency, LA could have stood to add another top-tier cornerback to its secondary. Strengthening the offensive line to give Herbert enough time on his dropbacks is never a bad idea. Springing for help on the interior of the defensive line — or at the next level with added depth at linebacker — wouldn’t have been a foolish notion, either. 

The Chargers entered the draft as a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl, and that trophy chase begins in earnest now. 

2022 NFL Draft picks by Los Angeles Chargers

  • No. 17 Overall: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
  • No. 79 Overall: JT Woods, S, Baylor
  • No. 123 Overall: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
  • No. 160 Overall: Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA
  • No. 195 Overall: Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia
  • No. 214 Overall: Ja’Sir Taylor, CB, Wake Forest
  • No. 236 Overall: Deane Leonard, CB, Ole Miss
  • No. 260 Overall: Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue

No. 17 Overall: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

Los Angeles Chargers offensive guard Zion Johnson
Los Angeles Chargers offensive guard Zion Johnson | Mike Calendrillo/Sportscasting

The Chargers know that protecting Justin Herbert is all that matters — a bit hyperbolic, sure — and they committed to doing exactly that with Zion Johnson, even if they reached a bit to add him to their offensive line. It’s a clear need pick, but Johnson at least brings experience at every position along the line and the explosion and driving power to move all sorts of defenders back onto their heels.

Grade: B-

No. 79 Overall: JT Woods, S, Baylor

If the Chargers are relying on JT Woods to make tackles in the open field, they’ll be disappointed. If they can lean on him as a ball-hawking playmaker who can use his speed and ability to read the quarterback to force turnovers, they’ll be thrilled.

Grade: C+

Day 3 Picks

No. 123 Overall: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

l like the value here with Isaiah Spiller as he probably could have gone in the third round, but running back really wasn’t something the Chargers needed to prioritize. He still gives LA a potent 1-2 punch with Austin Ekeler.

Grade: B

No. 160 Overall: Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA

It took a little longer than expected for the Chargers to address their horrendous run defense, but they’ve gotten themselves a good value in UCLA’s Otito Ogbonnia.

Grade: B+

No. 195 Overall: Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia

Seriously, how many Bulldogs are going to go in this draft? Salyer was actually one we expected to go a little earlier, maybe even as early as late in the third round or early in the fourth. The Chargers getting him here is nothing but good news.

Grade: A-

No. 214 Overall: Ja’Sir Taylor, CB, Wake Forest

You can’t have too many cornerbacks in general, and that rings especially true in the AFC West. Ja’Sir Taylor is a decent pick in this spot.

Grade: B-

No. 236 Overall: Deane Leonard, CB, Ole Miss

See the statement above? That rings true for Deane Leonard, as well. The Ole Miss product ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Grade: B-

No. 260 Overall: Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue

At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Horvath is a big back who could carry some of the running load while also serving as a nice blocker for Ekeler.

Grade: B-

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