NFL Draft Pick 23: New England Patriots – Zion Johnson, Guard, Boston College
Ted Karras left New England for the Cincinnati Bengals in their quest to build an offensive line around Joe Burrow, while Shaq Mason was inexplicably traded to the Buccaneers for mere peanuts.
Michael Onwenu will start at guard for the Patriots in 2022, but that still leaves a big hole in the interior line. The Patriots simply must be able to protect Mac Jones if they’re going to improve this season.
Zion Johnson is one of the favorites to be the top interior offensive linemen off the board given how he looks set to be a plug-and-play starter for Week 1.
Johnson is a versatile blocker equally adept at any situation. He’s played both tackle and guard at Boston College, and while he projects as a guard for the NFL he has the technique to play tackle in a pinch.
Boston College has done a good job instilling sound technique into Johnson. His hand placement is fast and precise, often allowing him to stifle pass-rushers with his own strength.
It’s almost impossible to displace Johnson when he’s set, and he has excellent lateral mobility brought over from his days at tackle.
Johnson looks to be a safe pick to succeed in the NFL.