Paris Johnson Jr. Draft Profile
When it comes to offensive tackle play there are different prototypes for different schemes, but when you are 6’6 with 36 1/8 inch arms, there is a sort of scheme autarky. Ohio State offensive lineman, Paris Johnson Jr., is capable of playing in just about any scheme at a high level. Before being named the best left tackle in the country as a junior, Johnson was named second-team all BIG10 as a sophomore starting at right guard. His versatility (and the success that came with it) is a testament to Johnson’s character. Despite being named one of the best players at his position as a sophomore, he decided to challenge himself and play left tackle, one of the hardest positions to play in all of sports. Johnson is a high character player who is extremely intelligent both on and off the field. He graduated college in three years with a degree in journalism, wrote for the school paper, is trilingual, and started his own foundation for veterans as a high-schooler. The left tackle position is a cornerstone piece for NFL teams; it is a position that demands leadership and consistency. I believe Johnson has the on-field play and off-field character to match the requirements it takes to be a starting left tackle in the NFL.
Reliability is vital when it comes to being a successful left tackle in the NFL; it is hard to find a player more reliable than Johnson. He is a player that doesn’t waver; he is the definition of consistency. He is best in the pass game where his nimble feet allow him to mirror edge rushers like he’s playing a full-court press. There is never a sense of panic in Johnson’s game; his ability to recover whether he gets beat off the line of scrimmage or has a bad rep, is impressive. He is composed and is comfortable playing on an island. His broad shoulders and long arms create a ginormous frame that is difficult to get around. Speed rushers have trouble bending around Johnson due to his sheer size and length, but also his narrow hips and mobile ankles. What is most impressive about Johnson are his feet in pass protection. They never get stuck in quick sand; they are light and constantly moving. It allows him to keep a base and react to counters. Johnson has the ability to bend and change directions; he frequently puts it on display when having to move up to the second level in the run game. While Johnson is capable of moving laterally as a run-blocker, he is best when he is moving downfield and in a position where he can make a block on the second level. His fluidity when bending allows him to be a threat as a puller. On combo blocks, Johnson is able to adjust to the quickness of both linebackers and defensive backs. His length allows him to reach block and win his reps even if he has bad positioning. On the reps where Johnson does get beat, he is never left in the dust. Having confidence that your left tackle can play on an island is freeing for offensive play callers, and Johnson provides that tranquility.
The biggest concern regarding Paris Johnson Jr. is his overall strength and power. There is not much knock back or initial pop at the point of contact. Johnson struggles to handle the power of defensive ends with good bullrushes. While Johnson’s length is an extreme advantage, his height allows shorter defensive linemen to have natural leverage and get into his chest with their power rushes. It also does not help that he is more of a waist bender than a guy who sinks and anchors. I don’t believe he was asked to call out blitzes and additional rushers, he also has a tendency of setting too wide which made him susceptible to inside moves. Johnson relies too much on his length when having to seal; he is not consistently getting proper hat placement. While Johnson is a consistent player, he is also a beatable player. He will need to get stronger and more explosive through contact in order to be an elite player at his position in the NFL.
While Johnson is not the perfect tackle prospect in the world, he is extremely well-rounded and consistent in all-facets of his game. He has the physical tools to be a reliable left tackle for years and years to come. His movement ability in the run game and feet in pass protection remind me a lot of Terron Armstead. I have a top 20 grade on Johnson because of his consistency at such a premiere position. I would love to see him as a left-tackle for a gap-scheme offense that allows him to contribute as a blocker at the second level. That is why I believe the Buccaneers are a great fit for him. On the other hand, if he was able to go to a zone-scheme like the Titans or Commanders, he would be able to provide consistency and contribute immediately for two offenses that desperately need it. I believe Johnson is going to be a cornerstone player that will play in the league for a long, long time.
Feet + COD: 10.5/12
Movement Ability in Space + Bend: 11/12
Strain + Seal + Strength: 7.5/10
Anchor + Sink: 7.25/10
Football IQ: 7.5/10
Mentality + Violence: 7.25/10
Point of Contact + Punch: 5.75/8
Recover + Poise: 7.75/8
Patience + Hands: 4.75/6
Final Rating: 79
Pro Comparison: Terron Armstead with longer arms and less strength
Team Fits: Buccaneers, Commanders, Titans
Draft Projection: Top 15 Pick
Draft Grade: Top 20 player