The Los Angeles Chargers entered NFL Draft 2022 on April 28 with 10 picks over the three-day draft. They traded two of their four seventh-round picks to the Bears to reacquire their sixth-round pick they had sent to Chicago in the Khalil Mack trade.
With the 17th pick, the Chargers had plenty of options with Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning and Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie still available. But they bypassed them both to take a player many considered the top guard in the draft in Boston College’s Zion Johnson.
Johnson will slot in at right guard, solidifying the Chargers’ pass protection for quarterback Justin Herbert.
In the third round on Friday, the Chargers boosted their secondary with Baylor safety JT Woods. On Saturday, the Chargers found their backup running back when they took Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller in the fourth round and added UCLA defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia in the fifth round.
Keep coming back here throughout the draft for analysis and grades for each Chargers pick.
No. 17: Zion Johnson, guard, Boston College
How he fits: I thought it was possible that a player like Charles Cross might slide before the draft began, but the NFL clearly valued the top tackles higher than reports indicated. Zion Johnson was the selection for the Chargers, and he slots in as an ideal swing type in the trenches. Johnson has experience playing at guard and tackle, and he’s a dependable piece in the run game and in protection. Los Angeles needed to accomplish two things up front: make the inside run game more viable, and have an emergency option if Storm Norton struggles again next season. Check, and check. — Diante Lee
Dane Brugler’s analysis: Johnson will occasionally lose his balance, but his combination of play strength, muscle twitch, and reaction skills help him sustain as both a pass and run blocker. He has the talent to carve out a decade-long career as an interior NFL blocker.
Daniel Popper’s analysis: Chargers draft Zion Johnson: Hard to argue with more protection for Justin Herbert
Matt Fortuna’s analysis: What Boston College OL Zion Johnson brings to the Los Angeles Chargers
Sheil Kapadia’s grade: B+
No. 79: JT Woods, safety, Baylor
How he fits: I’m fascinated by the plan for Woods in Brandon Staley’s defense — Nasir Adderley and Derwin James are already holding down the starting safety spots, and I don’t see either guy ceding their place on the depth chart in the immediate future. Woods is a freak athlete, though, and you can’t have enough of them in your defensive backfield. Running a 4.3 40-yard dash, and possessing the range and ball skills to force turnovers, it’s possible that Woods can find the field if James is used as a big nickel at times. At worst, he can be an immediate contributor on special teams. — Diante Lee
Dane Brugler’s analysis: Woods needs to improve his discipline and tackling skills, but he has appealing traits with his plus speed, long arms and nose for the football in the run game and coverage. He might get some looks at cornerback by press-heavy teams.
Daniel Popper’s analysis: Chargers draft JT Woods: Ballhawking safety adds depth to defensive backfield
Sheil Kapadia’s grade: B
No. 123: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
Dane Brugler’s analysis: Spiller needs to be more consistent with his pad level and blocking, but he has outstanding footwork, patience and vision and ties it all together to maximize each carry. He has all the tools to develop into a three-down NFL starter.
Daniel Popper’s analysis: The Chargers need a reliable option behind Austin Ekeler in the backfield, and Spiller is an ideal complement. He can create as a pass-catcher (74 receptions in three college seasons) and will also provide some physicality and north-south juice as a change-of-pace runner. He’ll compete with Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree.
No. 160: Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA
Dane Brugler’s analysis: Ogbonnia moves heavy and he is still raw as a two-gapper and pass rusher, but his package of traits (size, length, heavy hands) is a nice starter kit for a developmental nose tackle.
Daniel Popper’s analysis: Ogbonnia has a massive frame at over 6-foot-3, 324 pounds with 34 3/8-inch arms. The Chargers needed depth on the interior of their defensive line, and more specifically, they needed depth pieces that can eat up blocks vs. the run. Ogbonnia has the size, length and strength to do exactly that. Consider the Chargers’ DL makeover complete.
No. 214 (compensatory)
No. 260 (compensatory)
(Photo of Isaiah Spiller: Craig Bisacre / Texas A&M Athletics)
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism