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

BC's Zion Johnson has a great deal of upside as a prospective interior offensive lineman, Nick Falato writes.
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Zion Johnson, IOL

Height: 6’3
Weight: 312 lbs.
Class: Senior
School: Boston College
Arm length: 34”
Hand size: 10 ⅝”

Zion Johnson originally played college football at Davidson, appearing in 22 games with 19 starts along the offensive line. He wasn’t offered scholarships from top-notch programs out of high school. 

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


A three-year 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 one 2021 game). Allowed 22 pressures and two sacks in 2020 as an LT, and only 14 pressures and a sack when at guard. Was All-ACC first team 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 & 2021.

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

  • 40-yard-dash: 5.18 
  • Bench press: 32
  • Vertical jump: 32”
  • Broad jump: 112”
  • 3-Cone drill: 7.38
  • Short shuttle: 4.46


  • Good size and length
  • Excellent athletic ability with rare flexibility in his lower half
  • Changes directions well; can pivot off one foot and redistribute his weight with hast
  • Plays with good balance
  • Very good foot-quickness and good overall agility
  • Does a great job moving laterally and staying square to targets
  • Very effective run blocker who is very smart - adjusts assignments mid-play if necessary
  • Does a really good job framing his blocks
  • Does well with angles in space and locating defenders
  • Takes excellent power steps into contact
  • Quick, 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 in combo blocks, has a good feel for when to break contact and climb
  • Does an excellent job swiveling his hips and positioning his backside between defenders and holes after initiating contact as a run blocker
  • Gets low and uncoils his hips through contact, bending his knees and exploding through the ground - maximizes his own strength
  • Very good pass protector
  • Good anchor when absorbing contact, hip flexibility allows him to absorb power rushers well
  • Feet are quick to mirror; when balanced, he keeps his feet moving side-to-side, mirroring rushers intentions to win half-man
  • Solid ability to pick up stunts
  • Versatile - can play tackle in a pinch but is more of an interior offensive linemen

Can Improve

  • Looks small in his pre-snap stance
  • Isn’t a bulldozer type of guard - but does have solid functional strength
  • Concedes some ground against power when he allows rushers into his frame (when he can’t fully bow his back with no hand control)
  • Upper body can lean over toes if he goes for an aggressive punch and then whiffs


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

His anchor, foot speed, flexibility, and punch are more than sufficient. He’s a good run and pass blocker who is well-rounded, smart on the fly, with big heavy hands. He’s not a complete body mover in one-on-one situations at guard, but his play strength and power are functional traits that do not hinder his upside. He would immediately upgrade the New York Giants’ interior offensive line, but I doubt he’s available to them at pick 36.

GRADE: 6.74


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