Name: Paris Johnson Jr.
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Ohio State
Weight: 310 lbs
Games watched: vs. Iowa (2022), vs. Michigan State (2022), vs. Notre Dame (2022), vs. Rutgers (2021), vs. Wisconsin (2022), vs. Michigan (2022)
Ohio State is probably best known for the linemen they produce on the defensive side of the ball. That being said, no one is making the mistake of overlooking Paris Johnson Jr. The redshirt sophomore brings the ideal size of NFL tackle and plays with a fun blend of speed and power. After spending the 2021 season at right guard, Johnson moved to left tackle. Like any player learning a new position, it took him a bit of time to learn the nuances. There are some shaky moments, especially in pass protection early in the season that largely disappeared by the time he faced Michigan.
For his efforts, Johnson was named 1st-team All-Big Ten by both coaches and media as well as AP 2nd-team All-American. He now enters the pre-draft process with a real chance to be the top tackle taken. He will not be eligible for any of the All-Star games, like the Senior Bowl and Shrine Bowl, but he will almost certainly be looking to wow scouts and coaches at the combine.
Let’s start with the biggest strength in Johnson’s game. He is an elite run blocker. Ohio State played a zone heavy scheme, but mixed in some true power runs as well. Johnson excelled on kickout blocks to set the edge and has great range for a player his size. He has no issue reaching an interior defensive lineman as the backside blocker and was routinely used as a pulling player in the run game. With that athleticism, he does well reaching the second level to wall off linebackers and safeties. Johnson also has good fluidity to his movement and improved both his footwork and hand technique as the season went on in the passing game. He rarely gave up pressure and did a nice job keeping his hands inside on opposing rushers to avoid holding penalties. On top of that, his balance is incredible, allowing him to recover nicely if he makes a mistake.
While Johnson definitely improved as a pass blocker throughout the season, there is still room for growth. He is susceptible to inside moves by pass rushers, particularly swim and spin moves. He sometimes rocks into his stance on passing sets, leaving him on his heels. His pad level is inconsistent as well and he is guilty of dropping his head on occasion in the running game, which leads to him whiffing on some blocks. His power is solid, but there are definitely moments where you can see he can still strengthen his base.
Johnson has the chops to be a Day 1 starter at either tackle spot. His athleticism and size would be enough to tempt any scout, but his improvements over the course of the season at tackle point towards a player who is still improving. That is impressive given how high of a level he is already capable of playing at. He may need some help early on in pass protection, but with more experience and coaching, he should turn into a capable blindside protector. Worst-case scenario for Johnson would be struggling at tackle and being kicked inside to guard, where he has the agility and experience to be a real asset. Johnson feels like a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect.
Ideal scheme fit: Zone run or RPO-heavy offense
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