BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Paris Johnson Jr. is touted by many as the best offensive tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft — and for good reason.
The Ohio State product was a second-team All-American last season, allowing just two sacks while he protected top quarterback prospect C.J. Stroud’s blind side. He also has experience on the interior line as well, starting 13 games at guard in 2021 for the Buckeyes.
Johnson believes his athleticism is unmatched by any lineman in the country, and that makes tackle his best fit at the next level.
“I’ve never played basketball because I can’t dribble but my feet can cover anybody,” Johnson said at the NFL Draft Combine. “I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in church with a lot of dancing. I feel like I have good feet and the violence I play with too I feel like out in space, is crucial.”
Zach Harrison is a defensive lineman and fellow Buckeye that will likely be a day-two pick in the draft, and he’s quite familiar with Johnson’s game. The two spent countless hours battling each other during practices at Ohio State.
“Paris is a dog, he’s going to be one of the perennial left tackles for a long time in the league because of his work ethic,” Harrison said. “The dude is a freak, dudes that big should not be that athletic and strong. Going against him every single day, I know the work he puts in, he never takes a play off, he’s always going to be working.”
Draft analysts have knocked Johnson for his imperfect technique at times, however, the 21-year-old possesses quality traits and quickness and with some extra work at the pro level, has all the makings to be a long-time starting tackle in the NFL.
Johnson is projected to be an early to middle first round draft pick.
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Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.