Mel Kiper Jr. says Paris Johnson is the top offensive lineman in 2023 NFL Draft

On3 imageby:Griffin McVeigh04/24/23


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Thursday is fast approaching, as players will see their dreams come to life in Kanas City at the 2023 NFL Draft. Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson is expected to be one of those, with many out there considering him an early first-round pick. With the position’s value, Johnson may not be waiting too long to hear his name called.

Heading into the event, ESPN’s Mel Kiper said Johnson is the draft’s top offensive lineman. There are a few other candidates out there, mainly Peter Skoronski coming out of Northwestern. However, since he most likely projects to the interior and not tackle, Kiper believes Johnson earns the No. 1 spot.

“If you look at the clear-cut offensive tackle, it would be Paris Johnson Jr,” Kiper said via ESPN radio. “Then you get into Broderick Jones, Georgia, Darnell Wright, Tennessee. “Best overall lineman, I think, is Peter Skoronski. If he’s a left tackle, he may not be that in the NFL. May move inside to guard because he’s 6’3 and a half with short arms. So, I think Paris Johnson Jr., right now would be the, I think, overall No. 1 offensive lineman.”

Johnson does have experience playing guard at the college level. The 2022 season was his first as a starting tackle for the Buckeyes, playing all 13 games of the 2021 season at right guard. Head coach Ryan Day moved him over, protecting the blindside of quarterback CJ Stroud.

The results were positive for Ohio State. Johnson ended the year as a Consensus First-Team All-American and was a finalist for multiple individual awards. After just one full season at the position, those in the NFL are excited for the continued potential of Johnson.

In the latest ESPN mock draft, Johnson was selected 13th overall by the New York Jets — a pick now owned by the Green Bay Packers. Either way, Johnson was the first offensive lineman off the board in the complete seven-round mock draft.

Skoronski was a selection behind, falling to the New England Patriots. In total, just four offensive linemen were selected with the first 31 overall picks.

Nobody can ever use too many offensive tackles on the roster. Kiper does project Johnson to wind up being somebody’s franchise left tackle. If scouts, coaches, and general managers from across the NFL agree, Johnson will be on stage, hugging Commissioner Roger Goodell sooner rather than later on Thursday night.