Two players with local ties had their names called Thursday night in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Zion Johnson, a standout Boston College offensive lineman, ranked 17th overall for the Los Angeles Chargers. Lewis Cine, a skilled safety from Everett and the University of Georgia, went 32nd to the Minnesota Vikings.
In the months leading up to the NFL Draft, Johnson consistently helped his stock and established himself as a likely first-round pick. He eventually went even higher than many expected.
Johnson will have a chance to protect star quarterback Justin Herbert and should get the chance to start right away.
“He’s a very, very good guard,” Booger McFarland told ESPN. “A guard who can move people.”
👁 zi on the lot 👁 pic.twitter.com/Hk85TNVwqQ
— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) April 29, 2022
He celebrated in Las Vegas with his family and BC head coach Jeff Hafley. Johnson sported a huge smile as he proudly walked the mat and donned a Chargers cap.
Once a zero-star rookie who played two years at Davidson College and three years at BC, he earned All-ACC first-team honors last season for the Eagles while allowing zero pressure all year.
At 6-foot-3 and 316 pounds, guard is his natural position, but there has been speculation he could move to NFL center. Johnson, seen as a safe choice, prides himself on his versatility and has made it clear he will play wherever he needs to.
“The main thing is that I’m reliable,” Johnson said at Pro Day earlier this spring.
I’m ready! #BoltUp
— Sion Johnson (@_ZJ77) April 29, 2022
His stock increased dramatically when he racked up 32 reps off the bench at the NFL Combine. The Patriots were one of many teams linked to Johnson, who said it “would mean a lot” to stay in Massachusetts, but he’s happy to play anywhere.
Johnson is the 10th Boston College offensive lineman to be selected in the first round, and the first since Chris Lindstrom finished 14th overall for the Atlanta Falcons in 2019.
Cine, meanwhile, grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and developed his love for football in Everett. He won Massachusetts Defensive Player of the Year honors for the Crimson Tide in 2017, played at Trinity Christian in Cedar Hill, Texas, and finished with 36 scholarship offers before choosing the University of Georgia. There, he transformed into a catalyst and earned Defensive MVP honors in the FBS Championship Game.
He. Shots. Everyone. pic.twitter.com/SwrmghYVC8
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 29, 2022
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect, who sprinted 4.37 for 40 yards, has won a championship at every level, from Pop Warner to two high schools to college. He became the fifth Georgian defense player to take part in the first round, which is a new record for any school.
“Here’s a kid who can do anything you want,” said ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. “Some thought he was there with Kyle Hamilton as one of the best safeties in this draft. I would agree with that.
Blessing to be a VIKING!!! https://t.co/PUbonw0uRH
— ⱠɆ₩ł₴ ₵ł₦Ɇ (@LewisCine) April 29, 2022
Ciné performs to support and inspire her 5-year-old daughter, Bella.
“She’s my ‘why,'” Cine told The Globe earlier this week. “She’s why I do it.”
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