If the New York Jets didn’t already have their fingers crossed hoping that Paris Johnson Jr. will fall to them in the 2023 NFL Draft, they surely do now after his showing at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The Jets have the No. 13 pick in the first round and several holes to fill on their roster. Safety, linebacker, and defensive line are needs, but offensive tackle stands out more than the other positions. And that's with Mekhi Becton looking to be in the best shape of his career and Duane Brown deciding to return to the Jets in 2023.
Paris Johnson Jr. has been a standout at the combine this year!
— The Athletes Plug (@TheAthletesPlug) March 5, 2023
The Jets have been linked to each of the three highest-rated tackles in the draft. Some experts prefer Johnson, the Ohio State stud. Others lean toward Peter Skoronski of Northwestern or Broderick Jones of Georgia.
They wouldn’t go wrong landing any of those three. But let’s examine why Paris Johnson Jr. is the best fit for the Jets roster in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Paris Johnson Jr.’s tape stands up to any tackle in college football
There’s a reason why Johnson is mentioned with Skoronski and Jones as the best tackle entering the draft this year. He’s a stud who excelled playing a premier position (left tackle) at a big-time program (Ohio State).
Jets general manager Joe Douglas loves big athletic linemen on both sides of the ball. So, he probably drools watching Johnson’s tape.
Johnson is 6-foot-6, 313 pounds and was one of three players at the combine whose arms measured 36 inches or more. He’s got a long reach and massive wingspan to pair with powerful upper body to keep defenders at bay. He also is agile for a lineman and has quick feet.
“My athleticism is unmatched. I don’t play basketball because I can’t dribble, but I don’t know if it’s from dancing at church but I got great feet,” says Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr. pic.twitter.com/K1MyWiVsca
— MJ Hurley (@mjhurleytdt) March 4, 2023
Certainly, there’s room for improvement. Many draft experts say Johnson needs to get stronger. But with his frame, Johnson has plenty of room to add muscle and grow more into his body.
At the end of the day, he allowed three sacks in three collegiate seasons and is quick and effective in the run game. The dude can flat-out play.
Paris Johnson Jr. is versatile and would provide Jets options on offensive line
Before Johnson started at left tackle as a junior last season, he was the Buckeyes starting right guard as a sophomore. That versatility should intrigue the Jets, whose depth along the line was challenged because of injuries throughout the 2022 season.
The fact that Johnson has drawn comparisons to Alijah Vera-Tucker is also appealing. Vera-Tucker was a first-round pick by the Jets in 2021 and is their best offensive lineman. A standout at guard, Vera-Tucker seamlessly and selflessly switched positions for the better of the team when injuries decimated the line last season.
Ohio St OL Paris Johnson Jr. said he’s a natural tackle. Feels his versatility will allow him to play guard if that’s what it takes to be a part of the best five. Said he played hockey and gymnastics when he was younger which helped develop his athleticism. Wrestling,soccer too. pic.twitter.com/aJ2CM2w4ov
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) March 4, 2023
Johnson said at the combine that he’d be willing to play guard in the NFL. He even joked he’d learn to snap the ball and play center if it meant being part of “the best five” on the line.
With Vera-Tucker, Becton, Brown and Max Mitchell all returning from serious injuries, Johnson’s versatility along the line is extremely appealing.
Paris Johnson Jr. is impressive off the field, too
Perhaps what stood out most about Johnson at the combine was how impressive he is as a person. Johnson came across as thoughtful and caring and oozed leadership qualities.
During his media session, Johnson referred often to his mother and how much he appreciates the sacrifices she’s made for him over the years. He also spoke of paying things forward and creating the Paris Johnson Jr. Fund. He seems like a special kid.
Douglas places a lot of value on the character of the individual. And Johnson appears to have high character in spades. Add that to his physical tools and you have the complete package for the Jets.