After a successful and seamless switch from guard to offensive tackle for the 2022 college football campaign, Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr. has positioned himself to be the first Buckeyes offensive tackle to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft since 2016. Johnson’s scouting report details why he’s primed for the pinnacle of his position in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Paris Johnson Jr. NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Ohio State
- Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’6″, 313 pounds
The foundations for Johnson’s ascent to being a top 2023 NFL Draft prospect were laid long before he set foot on the football field for Ohio State. A three-year contributor at St. Xavier in Cincinnati, Johnson graduated from Princeton High School as a five-star standout and the top OT in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Having secured multiple high school accolades, including All-American Bowl Man of the Year, the much sought-after OT committed to Ohio State amongst offers from the top programs in the nation. Although Johnson earned some early action as a true freshman, his emergence into the national conscious came as a second-team All-Big Ten guard in 2021.
Despite never playing the position, Johnson began the 2022 campaign as a highly ranked OT prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft. Playing over 800 snaps and giving up just two sacks, the Ohio State standout quickly demonstrated why he’d been expected to succeed at his new position — earning first-team All-Big Ten and AP second-team All-American honors.
For as impressive as he is on the football field, Johnson’s scouting report wouldn’t be a complete evaluation without highlighting the man behind the helmet. An academic and philanthropist, the Ohio State offensive tackle speaks Chinese and spent 2022 adding Portuguese to his list of linguistic talent.
Furthermore, Johnson has worked tirelessly since being a high school student to raise funds to support veterans and disadvantaged children. Since its inception, the “Paris Johnson Jr. Foundation” has raised over $10,000 through various fundraising efforts.
“We serve underprivileged young athletes,” Johnson explained to me in a May 2022 interview. “Those athletes are people who want it as bad as I do, they want to reach the highest level…It’s the same game that we all love. But sometimes it’s different experiences, and I don’t think that’s fair.”
Paris Johnson Jr. Scouting Report
There was excitement building ahead of the 2022 college football season for Johnson’s potential as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect, and he didn’t disappoint in successfully making the transition. But, what does his scouting report tell us about how he wins on the football field — and what does he still have to improve on to continue being a high-level football player at the NFL level?
At 6’6″ and 313 pounds, Johnson has a “built-in-a-lab” physique for the offensive tackle position. There’s no excess or bad weight on the 2023 NFL Draft prospect, enabling the athletic ability that is one of the hallmarks of his game.
Meanwhile, the Ohio State OT has impressive measurable length with 36 1/8″ arms that are noticeable from the minute that you switch on the tape. On Johnson’s 2021 tape, while playing guard, you can routinely see examples of him using his length and athleticism to execute on reach blocks to an extremely high level.
While that length helps keep rushers out of his chest, Johnson has also shown that he can generate a powerful punch from these lengthy levers. There’s menace and malice when he seeks to strike, with multiple examples of him dispensing with an opponent with a simple shove to the ground.
While the ability and desire to ruthlessly despatch an opponent are there, there’s some finesse to how Johnson carries and uses his powerful paws as well. He plays from a good stance, carries his hands in a position to weaponize them with the greatest efficiency, and has independent hand usage as part of his OT armory.
Johnson has been a high-level pass protector for Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, but his ability to impact the ground game is one of the more alluring elements of his scouting report.
A key component of Johnson’s run game success is an excellent athletic profile. He explodes out of his stance, showcasing quick and nimble footwork for his size. He’s able to cover ground with impressive speed and is extremely fluid in his motions — allowing him to redirect with ease. This is apparent in his pass protection, with the footwork to mirror the most athletic rushers.
While his athleticism helps make Johnson a dangerous second-level blocker in the ground game, there’s impressive technical acumen at play too.
The Ohio State OT plays square to his defenders and has the body control and mental facility to ensure his entire being is in sync so he can generate the most displacement possible as a mauling, punishing finisher.
The latter point encapsulates Johnson’s game. While there are some areas of improvement on his scouting report, there’s no questioning his desire to finish every single play. He’s a consistent competitor, who will seek work at every available opportunity.
Meanwhile, Johnson’s high football IQ allows him to identify defensive tricks, routinely picking up stunts and twists and understanding when his help is required. That combination of athleticism, football IQ, competitive toughness, and multi-faceted technical ability will be hard to ignore in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Areas of Improvement
While, to my mind, there isn’t a challenger to the Ohio State OT being the first offensive lineman off the board in April, Johnson’s scouting report isn’t without areas of improvement. There are several things that he’ll need to work on to ensure sustained success at the NFL level.
Although Johnson has demonstrated a powerful punch and the ability to finish in the ground game, he’s not the strongest of tackles in this class. Johnson’s demonstrated that he can anchor in pass protection, yet there are also reps where he gets forced back into the path of the QB.
His manhandling at the hands of Lukas Van Ness has been repeatedly used to demonstrate this. Expanding on that point, while Johnson has the athleticism and fluidity of movement to handle speed rushers with ease, power rushers cause some issues for him.
Johnson needs to ensure consistency with placement and timing. He’s showcased that he can be devastating with his hands. Yet, sometimes the Ohio State OT lands outside of his opponent’s frame. While Johnson has the ability to redirect his hands quickly, being more consistent with his hand placement will allow him to be even more dominant.
Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr. Current Draft Projection
From a 2023 NFL Draft perspective, Johnson should comfortably be considered a first-round prospect. Furthermore, he sits as my OT1 and top-ranked offensive lineman in the class with less than a month until the NFL’s annual selection event.
While there are areas of improvement from his scouting report to consider, Johnson’s combination of size, length, athleticism, competitive toughness, and multi-phase technical ability should prove alluring for NFL teams in need of a long-term answer at offensive tackle.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
From a long-range outlook, Johnson has the potential to be a multi-year starting left tackle in the NFL. His exposure to the right-hand side of the offensive line as a sophomore in 2021 could allow a team to use him at RT, but he has the ability to hold down the LT spot to a high level for a number of years.
Johnson’s scouting report checks several boxes. He’s a clean evaluation who combines on-field prowess with off-field excellence. It’s a combination that should ensure that he becomes the first Ohio State OT selected on Day 1 since 2016.
Paris Johnson Jr. Combine Measurements and Results
- Wingspan: 85 1/8″
- Arm: 36 1/8″
- Hand: 9 1/2″
- Bench Press: 29 reps
- 40-Yard Dash: N/A
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