3. Austin Johnson
The LA Chargers made a lot of additions this offseason and the big names are obviously the first names to get mentioned. However, when you run down the list of players that the team brought in, the last name that people are likely to mention is defensive lineman Austin Johnson.
Johnson was not even the biggest name that the Chargers brought in on the interior defensive line, as the Bolts signed run-stuffer Sebastian Joseph-Day. Johnson is getting overlooked a bit and is not getting mentioned as part of this rebuilt defensive line that the Chargers have patched together.
That is a disservice to Johnson as he is going to add exactly what the team needs in his ability to defend the run. Sure, he might be limited as a pass-rusher but that is why the Chargers have pass-rushing depth options. When it comes to stopping the run, not many players in the NFL were better.
There were 19 interior defensive linemen who played 300 snaps against the run last season. Johnson ranked third among those players in run-stop percentage at 10.4% (Jerry Tillery ranked last). Of the 74 interior defensive linemen who played 200 snaps against the run, Johnson ranked 10th.
He stays on the field and he can stop the run. What more can the Chargers ask for? Helping him stay on the field is his ability to essentially line up anywhere in the interior. Brandon Staley can move him around the interior like a puzzle piece, which makes him extremely valuable.
Johnson is not going to make a Pro Bowl and he is going to be a player that you don't think much about when you are watching the games. But at the root of it all, Johnson will be there making a tangible difference to the Chargers' defense.