2022 NFL Draft: Zion Johnson Showing Out At The Senior Bowl

Zion Johnson, Senior Bowl, 2022 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Zion Johnson, Senior Bowl, 2022 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston College offensive lineman Zion Johnson has been dominant down at the Senior Bowl, and showing a valuable trait that teams will covet in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Senior Bowl is a must-see week for NFL Draft fans, and this week has been no different. The practices have always brought out the best in the prospects that go down to Mobile, and the 2022 version has been no different. One of the biggest standouts so far this week is Boston College guard Zion Johnson, who came in as one of the top guards in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Johnson played a lot of tackle in 2020, but he struggled a bit with the explosive and speedy rushers on the edge. He moved back inside to guard in 2021 and dominated, showing off the grip strength, absurd power, and incredible anchor in pass protection. He was so good in pass pro that he was often the only lineman who wasn’t giving up ground. Johnson wasn’t just dominant in the passing game either; he crushed it in the run game as well, flashing reach ability and second level blocking skills too.

All Johnson has done down in Mobile this week is prove how dominant he truly has been when lined up inside. The grip strength, hand placement, and power he plays with is easily NFL-level. His sets are very good in terms of positioning, and he handled some of the best interior rushers during the week.

The one thing Johnson did do that should only see his 2022 NFL Draft stock go higher. Right away, the Jets coaching staff gave him the opportunity to take snaps at center, both in 1-on-1s and team drills. It wasn’t always perfect, but things got better as the week went on. The most notable thing about it was Johnson sticking around after Wednesday’s practice to get some more reps in snapping the ball.

Zion Johnson proving that he can be a versatile piece is an excellent thing as the 2022 NFL Draft nears. In a weaker center class, Johnson having that guard-center versatility will intrigue NFL teams. The traits he possesses, especially his initial quicks and ability to cut off defenders as a reach blocker, could make the transition happen with good development. At the very least, while that development is going on, he can be a starting guard with the availability to play center in a pinch.

Versatility is a rare thing on the offensive line, and being available to play (for most) a more crucial position is huge. It’ll be interesting to see where Johnson ends up in the 2022 NFL Draft and if he ends up playing center at all in the NFL.