The LA Chargers were given a tough decision with the 17th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. With the elite receivers off the board and needing either offensive line help or cornerback help, there were three players that seemingly made sense for the team: guard Zion Johnson, tackle Trevor Penning and cornerback Trent McDuffie.
It is safe to say that most Chargers fans would have been happy with either Johnson or McDuffie. Penning was the odd man out that fans were worried about. Would the Bolts let a potentially big hole at right tackle convince them to take the worst prospect of the three?
Luckily, the Chargers drafted the best guard in the class in Johnson and Penning went two picks later to the New Orleans Saints. And while neither rookie has played a single NFL snap to this point, it is already becoming quite obvious that the Chargers made the absolute right decision.
Penning has made headlines during camp not for his production on the offensive line, but for getting into it with his defensive teammates as soon as the pads came on.
Saints fans will spin this as Penning being a ferocious competitor that cares about every single snap and say that it will ultimately help his NFL career.
They can think that all they want but one thing is for certain: this would not fly during Brandon Staley's camp and we would already be questioning Penning's fit if this was happening in Costa Mesa.
Zion Johnson's strong impression makes it even more apparent that the Chargers dodged a bullet with Trevor Penning.
Zion Johnson has played extremely well in training camp thus far and all of the tidbits and quotes about him are through the roof. The Athletic's Daniel Popper even compared his first impression of Johnson in camp to that of Rashawn Slater last season, which is saying something for the former Boston College guard.
Tackle might be "more important" than guard but it is clear that the Chargers got the better who is going to be better right away and might even have a higher ceiling. Add in the fact that both Storm Norton and Trey Pipkins are getting vast compliments during camp and it is clear that the current situation is much better than if they were to take Penning.
The Chargers knew what they were doing in the 2022 NFL Draft as well. This was not a case of simply favoring an inside player versus a tackle. Brandon Staley said in his post-draft press conference that they were looking to take the best offensive lineman available at 17.
Johnson was that guy, and just four months later, it looks like the Bolts were right.