The San Diego Chargers allowed 49 sacks during the 2012 NFL season which ranked fourth in this category. A major problem for San Diego’s offensive line was an injury to Jared Gaither who solidified the left tackle position after being claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs for the last five games in 2011.
Gaither was re-signed to a four year deal worth $24.6 million last year, but missed 12 games with multiple injuries and as a result, Philip Rivers had terrible protection especially from his blind side.
Johnson was converted from defensive end and tight end to right tackle during his time at Oklahoma. Johnson started 12 games at RT as a junior before making 11 starts at LT as a senior and was named a third team All-American by CBS Sports. According to CBS Sports, Johnson ranks sixth among all prospects.
San Diego’s front office needs an LT who the organization can depend on because of the situations with Marcus McNeill and Gaither. McNeill was San Diego’s starting LT from 2006-2011 which included two Pro Bowl appearances. McNeill got a big contract extension in 2010 before suffering an injury and retiring last year.
Gaither had a history of injury problems before he re-signed, so it was not a big surprise that he was injured last season which led to his release by the organization last month.
At 6-7 and 303 pounds, Johnson has the size to be an LT in the NFL and brings athleticism with him because he was a quarterback and TE in 2008 before he became a DE and TE.
Johnson has continued to show improvements during these past few months because he was ranked in the top 15 among all prospects and now he is just outside of the top five according to CBS Sports.
Even with a horrific offensive line, Rivers ranked ninth in the NFL with 26 touchdown passes and 11th in QB rating last season, so adding an LT like Johnson could lead to a monster season for Rivers.
When a team selects an offensive lineman in round one, it is not always going to be a move that makes fans jump out of their seats, but this is a move that San Diego’s front office has to make in April’s draft.