Would Zion Johnson Make Tom Brady Happy?

April 21st, 2022

Boston College G Zion Johnson

The idea of drafting a guard in Round 1 to make Tom Brady happy has been discussed several times on the Ira Kaufman Podcast. But it may be a questionable move.

That’s because the Bucs retained backup guard Aaron Stinnie to, in short, plug the hole of retired left guard Ali Marpet. Stinnie was fantastic filling in for Alex Cappa in the playoffs in 2020. But there is something weird about Stinnie signing a cheap one-year contract for two consecutive offseasons.

That sends up red flags for Joe. Does no one know how good Stinnie is or could be outside of One Buc Palace?

Then Joe read where Boston College coach and former Bucs defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley is urging Bill Belicheat to draft Hafley’s prize guard Zion Johnson in the first round.

Over at The Athletic, Dane Brugler in his “The Beast” draft guide, has Johnson as his top guard and pegged as being the 22nd-best prospect in the draft. Brugler also believes, as he typed in his “The Beast” draft guide, that Johnson will be a 10-year starter in the NFL.

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Boston College, Johnson lined up at left guard in former offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti’s zone-based (inside/outside) scheme. A golf-focused athlete in high school, he bet on himself going from the FCS level to an FBS program known for producing NFL offensive linemen and he developed into one of the top offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft. Johnson has a stout, developed body type with the patience and placement to plant and releverage himself to stay centered as a pass blocker. In the run game, he shows off his body control and drive strength to execute from various angles. Overall, 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.

Joe would be surprised for only this reason if the Bucs drafted Johnson, or any guard in the first round: Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht has a rich history of getting good offensive linemen, especially guards, on the second day of the draft.

Why not use that No. 27 pick to land cornerback Andrew Booth or receiver Jahan Dotson, and use that second-round pick on a guard where you have cleaned up as a general manager?

44 Responses to “Would Zion Johnson Make Tom Brady Happy?”

  1. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Guard in 2nd or 3rd- ed Ingram of LSU is a great pass blocker and has a real mean streak. There are too many freakishly good players available in Round 1 to not snag one , preferably Devin Lloyd of Utah . Remember how the lowly Jets offense carved us up due to LVD’s absence????? Lloyd is amazing and will continue Bucs tradition of having All Pro Linebackers. Defense could properly be renamed ” DEVIN ON EARTH”.

  2. Bruce Blahak Says:

    that would be the desired choice at 27 but he won’t slide past Patriots..

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    All this “make Brady happy” is starting to sound weak…..do we want him to be happy, sure….but drafting a RG or a WR simply to make him happy is foolish.

    Let’s draft a player that will help us win and be an impact player for years….if that player makes Brady happy….fine.

    I also don’t have any concerns about Stinnie’s one-year contract…..for all we know, that’s what he wanted.

  4. Mort Says:

    We don’t have a need at guard. This dude won’t even start if we draft him.

  5. Alanbucsfan Says:

    1st round DB picks haven’t worked out too well for Bucs in the past. (Aquib Talib won’t be there at 27)
    The last time Bucs picked a Guard in 1st round was Davin Joseph and he had a solid career with Bucs.
    DLine or LB would be better than DB in 1st round

  6. Letsbuccinggo Says:

    He traded up for Wirfs if I remember correctly. I would grab Johnson in a heartbeat if hes still there. Stinnie wasn’t fantastic he did a good job but face it if he was that good why not sign him to a long term deal I guess they know something we don’t.

  7. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    If Bucs need to trade with Pats to get Devin Lloyd at 21-Do it. However , sticking with 27 is looking more and more like Devonte Wyatt from Georgia , and I am more than OK with that.

  8. Pewter Power Says:

    The idea that we have to do anything in the draft to make Tom happy is stupid. Draft isn’t about just one year it’s about the future of the franchise. If he’s playing one more year or even two who cares what he thinks. He isn’t a draft guru and has no say in it. Like a coach he has to work with the players he gets

  9. Bobby M. Says:

    I think the only position they draft in the 1st rd would be an elite DT….or possibly a player that can fill two needs as either RB/WR/CB and returner. They really have to be efficient with roster spots and cap space. In this particular draft, with the depth it supposedly has, trading back can provide more value as well as improve our chances of finding another gem like a Marpet, David, Winfield, or Godwin. Should be a fun draft with lots of teams moving around.

  10. Pewter941 Says:

    The last 2 starting guards we had were drafted in the 2nd and 3rd round.

  11. Letsbuccinggo Says:

    Other than Jordan Davis there are no elite DTs in the draft. I thought maybe Devonte Wyatt would be good until I found out he has a police record and has been dropped from a lot of teams draft board.

  12. SB~LV Says:

    Catchy first name gets him in the fore , I’ve read some negatives about him

  13. Biff Barker Says:

    This is a touchy one. Tough call. If this dude can spell Wirfs, you gotta draft him. This is how GM’s earn their stay.

    Can’t fault anyone for upgrading the trenches. Regardless, I think our starting guard is already on the roster.

    Agree on the “this is for Tom” cow pie’s. He had a rookie OT starting the SB year. Its Bellichick’s way.

    A first rounder needs to start and excel Day 1.

  14. SufferingSince76 Says:

    I understand the previously stated reasons for the pass if he’s still available, but do you really let a talent like this get by? His issues can be coached out.

  15. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I would grab Johnson in a heartbeat if he is still there.
    In my mind, we have not replaced Ali Marpet yet.
    Marpet was an outstanding guard.; Not sure Stinnie is an adequate replacement.

  16. Daniel Says:

    As someone who goes to every BC game he’s really good and for sure start from Day 1. Whether it’s good value or not is another story.

  17. Bucs Guy Says:

    Over a month ago (pre-smoke screen?), the Bucs said there would be a competition for LG. We all know who the people are, but how good do JL and Bowles feel about these individuals? Nobody outside of One Buc really knows.

    Where the Bucs pick an OL will answer that question. First rd – very uncertain on Stinnie and Hainsey. Day 2 – 50/50 and they want to throw another competitor in the mix. Day 3 – they are good with Stinnie and Hainsey and this is another backup/ST player.

  18. Mike Says:

    Let’s go with what we NEED not what we want. So I see us going with Kair Elam at corner with #27 and then taking Cole Strange on day 2. He is a 5 year starter and lit up the combine. One of those Jason Licht small school guards, he is considered super tough and also has a very high football IQ.
    I think we saw how fast an injured defensive backfield can be decimated. Elam is elite and is young (20) and with the contract situations in the D-backfield is an ideal pick.
    As far as nose tackle is concerned, this is a loaded year for D-tackle talent. We can draft 2 or 3 of them.

  19. DingleBerry Says:

    Oh my…

    Clearly the Joe who wrote this article drinks entirely too much and doesn’t remember making this same boneheaded, lame-brained cockamamy argument in the months preceding the 2018 NFL draft in regards to a one Quenton Nelson.

    “You don’t draft a guard that high!” For weeks and weeks on end. And just like everyone with more than 2 braincells to rub together who had seen the kid play knew for a certainty would be the case, Quenton Nelson has been a bona-fide stud of a guard since he stepped on an NFL field.

    Clearing being 100% wrong hasn’t taught Joe a lick.

    Aaron Stinnie is a solid back up, nothing more. Hainsey, while I like him a lot, is an unproven rook who is at this point also the back up C, a super important spot on the depth chart btw. So guard is without a doubt a huge need going into the draft.

    Now, I haven’t done enough research and film study yet to actually say definitively whether or not Zion is a first round talent, but if he is, and he’s there, you take him. If a guy is the best player available at a position of need, you take him. End of story.

    Go Bucs

  20. DingleBerry Says:


    That may be true, but if you remember, Alex Cappa was god awful his rookie year, and it took him until his 3rd season to become a consistently competent starter.

    Ali was a stud from the get go, but he also was a super late bloomer in his high school/college career which is what landed him at Hobart.

    Dudes from that level of competition rarely if ever are picked in the 1st round, which was to our benefit. If you go back and look at his measurables/ performance at the senior bowl, Ali Marpet absolutely should have been a 1st round pick and we were lucky he fell to us. We might not ever get that lucky again.

  21. K2 Says:

    It’s about the team…not Brady! You can’t make him younger or happier by kissing his butt! He wants to be surrounded by a good team and win. A small upgrade to the O-line is not going to stop other teams from scoring points.

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    Would love to see Zion Johnson as a Buc, but it’s very unlikely to happen. For starters he won’t last to #27; and secondly we’ve got bigger fish to fry. Bucs NEED 4 starter-capable players to fill OR be primary rotational players for 4 existing holes: DT (to rotate in with or replace Suh), DE/OLB (to replace or rotate in with JPP), LB (to replace LVD when he gets hurt) & TE (to replace OJ not Gronk). Those are our Top-4 picks. Since 3 of those are on DEFENSE, and we’re in ‘Super Bowl or Bust’ mode this year, Bucs have to address those holes in the draft. And NOT with Rnd 7 picks; those are throw-aways.

    Bucs will win nada with the defense as it sits right now. Even IF we re-sign Suh, he & Vea together won’t get much more than 1200 def snaps (just about one season’s worth of def snaps). Same goes for re-signing JPP, although that’s probably irrelevant (doubt that Bucs could scrape together enough salary CAP money to re-sign Gronk, Suh AND JPP, after paying for our draft class & setting aside a little for reserves).

    And Joe, I think you’re short-changing Tom Brady. He knows better than any of us how important having a strong defense is when it comes to winning Super Bowls. Right now, ours is the weak link in the chain.

  23. VSyl Says:

    I’m sure Brady will be much happier if he doesn’t need to always score 30+ points to win. Even more if doesn’t need to comeback from a 20+ deficit every other game. Draft some CB and DL in the first rounds.

  24. Ash Says:

    Feel like there are too many needs on the defense to do that they have plenty bodies to compete there and you don’t need a superstar at guard just someone competent. With stinnie, Hutcherson,leverett, Molton, and hainsey I think that’s enough bodies to compete for that last guard spot. I see db or dline in the first.

  25. #8 Says:

    Trade next year’s picks away, trade Darden & maybe Scottie. Get 3-4 impact players this year. That’s all in.

    Also why I am not a GM & don’t gamble. I am Costanza.

    Which then means, the Bucs should trade back and amass many picks/players and start Darden & Scottie.

  26. MadMax Says:

    He’s going 12-20, he wont be there at 27.

  27. Joe in Michigan Says:

    #8: Do you honestly think Darden has any trade value? No NFL team (probably XFL and USFL too) wants a return man who falls down on 80% of his plays.

  28. HC Grover Says:

    Yep for Johnson

  29. #8 Says:

    MI Joe–Darden not worth much if anything I agree, based on his tape last year. Maybe just the random little tiny extra that sweetens the pot just enough for some other GM. Like throwing in a late 7th rounder. All fliers there anyway.

  30. sasquatch Says:

    Joe Says:

    Why not use that No. 27 pick to land cornerback Andrew Booth or receiver Jahan Dotson, and use that second-round pick on a guard where you have cleaned up as a general manager?

    Why not draft DT? Joe still won’t go there and admit he’s wrong that interior DL isn’t our greatest need. Delusional.

  31. sasquatch Says:

    I don’t see how they can come out of round 1 and 2 without a DT. Not grabbing a potential starting defensive lineman in this draft would be criminally negligent.

  32. MadMax Says:

    Alright, Ive changed up a little.

    If Olave and Dotson are gone (probably), then we can stay put and go DT Devonte Wyatt…work on WR in the 2nd round with a trade up for Drake London…I like that kid.

  33. sasquatch Says:

    I’m hearing Wyatt has character issues… Would be interesting to know if they’re criminal, or something that could be disruptive… If so, steer clear and get the DT in round 2.

  34. Pickgrin Says:

    If a player of that caliber is available at #27 – you celebrate and draft him.

    Big Difference between a first round OL talent and a UDFA like Stinnie who has (hopefully) been developed into a competent starter….

    Stick Zion between Donnie and Jensen and the Bucs instantly have the most dominating OLine in the NFL.

    Guarantee you if King Goodell announced Zion Johnson to the Buccaneers – Tom, Lenny and Byron would all simultaneously do the fist pump move and be looking for someone to high five with…..

    Did the 40 day funeral like absence not teach you?? – that as long as he is here – its ALL about TB12!

    Keeping Tommy happy and HEALTHY is the only way this franchise gets a good shot at kissing another Lombardo trophy.

    That said – Zion wont be there at 27 – so we need DLine help both inside and outside. Lack of pass rush is the main reason we lost to the Rams….

  35. Pickgrin Says:

    Lombardi –

    where’s that ‘edit’ button Joe? Cmon guys – wouldn’t be that hard to implement….

  36. GOB Says:

    No need to draft a guard in round one to make Brady “happy”. So long as they get an upgrade over stinnie. That shouldn’t be tremendously difficult. The bucs need a D lineman and a DB in the first two rounds. They also need to use the later rounds to improve a wretched special teams. The bucs roster is incredibly top heavy. It’s certainly not a bad thing. But, without quality backups, that can also shine on special teams, it’ll bit them in the ass at some point

  37. Cobraboy Says:

    As if Johnson is around for #27, and as if the Bucs would invest draft capital to get him.

  38. MadMax Says:

    @Sas, alright, explains why he’s dropping…my DT in the 2nd has always been Logan Hall.

  39. bob Says:

    him or green …..protect TOM

  40. Mark A Swygert Says:

    MadMax, Drake London definitely wiil not be there in the 2nd rd. Probably goes well before pick #27 in the first too. This isn’t a fantasy draft. The GM’s ahead of us are not complete idiots. They love that kid too.

  41. MadMax Says:

    yeah i know Mark, had to check myself……

  42. steele Says:

    You want to make Brady happy? Win him a ring by creating a defense that gives opposing teams no chance to do squat, and Brady’s offense doesn’t even need to be frenetic, and nothing is put on his tired old back to squeeze out games in the final seconds. Win him a ring by making his job easy.


  43. Oneilbuc Says:

    K2 . I agree 👍🏽 with you a hundred percent on it’s about the team not Brady. I’ve been trying to tell this to those suckaneers fans . It’s a big difference between a Bucs fan and a suckaneer fan. Suckaneers fans think without Brady the bucs or done because Brady wasn’t one of the reason why we won, he was the only reason why we won so that’s why the begging and think every draft pick is to keep Brady around the next couple of years. The Bucs fans are the ones who believes we won as a team and we will be ok once Brady leaves next year. Go Bucs!!

  44. John Mason Says:

    Simple answer Joe….Zion is gonna be a plug and play big time…just like Tristin….Remember keep Brady up right and Bucs win….if Brady goes down ….Bucs down for the count…don’t forget that last Rams game….We have to have as many studs on the O-line as possible.