Arizona Cardinals draft Pitt OL Dorian Johnson


Dorian Johnson is the second Panther to be selected in the draft, behind running back James Conner. Jeff Ahearn | Senior Staff Photgrapher

By Ryan Zimba | Sports Editor

The Arizona Cardinals selected Pitt offensive lineman Dorian Johnson in the fourth round of the NFL draft Saturday.

Johnson was expected to go in the second or third rounds of the draft, but dropped into the fourth after a recently discovered liver condition.

“[Friday] night, I had GM’s tell me they can’t risk a second or third [round pick] on Dorian due to the recent discovery of a liver condition he’s had since birth, even though his heptalogist said his condition will in no way affect his ability to play,” Johnson’s agent Joe Panos told ESPN’s Adam Caplan.

He is the second Panther to be taken in this year’s draft behind running back James Conner, who was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday.

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound lineman grew up in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania in nearby Fayette County. Coming out of high school, he was rated as a 5-star recruit and the No. 2 offensive tackle in the class of 2013 by the recruiting website Rivals.

Johnson made an immediate impact when he came to Pitt, becoming the first true freshman in seven years to start a game on the Panthers’ offensive line. In his sophomore and junior years, he started every game, earning second team All-ACC honors in 2015.

This past season, Johnson led the team up front on his way to becoming the first Pitt offensive lineman in 22 years to receive first team All-America honors. The last Panther to accomplish this feat was first-round draft pick Ruben Brown in 1994.

“Dorian was a huge part of our record-setting offense,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said on Twitter. “He is a great player who was incredibly durable and dependable during his career. The Cardinals are getting a very mature person who won’t be outworked.”

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