Paris Johnson Jr.: The perfect prospect for the Chicago Bears?

When discussing the best possible fits for the Chicago Bears with the 9th pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the name Paris Johnson Jr. almost always pops up, and it’s easy to see why. The need for an offensive tackle is obvious, and Johnson is arguably the best and most gifted offensive tackle of the entire draft.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles has made it clear he intends to address the need for an offensive tackle in the draft, and taking (in my opinion) the best tackle in the draft would definitely address the need. Paris Johnson Jr. is exactly what Ryan Poles looks for in offensive linemen, agility, athleticism and versatility. This rises the question, is Paris Johnson Jr. the prefect prospect for the Bears?

Johnson was simply great on the field. He impressed everyone with his incredible ability and versatility. The Ohio State lineman showed he is capable of excelling both inside and outside, playing right guard in 2021. Later switching to left tackle in 2022. In his two years as a starter combined, he allowed just 2 sacks. 2 in 2022 at left tackle and 0 in 2021 at right guard. His play didn’t come without recognition, as he earned consensus All-American and First-Team All-Big 10 honors in 2022. He also added Second-Team All-Big 10 honors in 2021. With a track record as great as Johnson’s, it is hard not to fall in love with him as a prospect. And I would find it hard to believe that general manager Ryan Poles wouldn't be very interested.

First, we’ll look at the positives that come with him. Paris Johnson Jr. stands out with a 6’6" and 313 lb frame and arms with a length of 36 ⅛ inches. Which dwarf Peter Skoronski’s 32 ¼ inch arms, who is up there with Johnson as one of the best linemen in the draft. Other positives, as NFL draft analyst Lance Zurelein explains, are that he has rhythmic diagonal slides in pass sets. He is able to shuffle his feet and ride the rusher around the arc. His athleticism allows him to make recoveries at a variety of angles. He is able to open his hips and accelerate to find back side cut-off angles. He is fluid with an accurate radar to strike as a pull blocker. He is also consistent in working to the linebacker on combo blocks.

With the positives, also come some negatives, and it is only fair that we take a look at those too. Johnson doesn’t have too much pop on contact. He is subpar at securing the first block on combo blocks. He lacks ideal leverage as a run blocker and bends at the waist. He has a wide-hand hitch in his pass punch. He possesses average body control through rush contact. His power can displace his anchor. Finally, his forward lean makes him susceptible to spin moves.

Overall, Paris Johnson Jr. is a long, athletic tackle with versatility in need of refining his technique. Johnson is still filling out his frame, which means he will become stronger. He possesses the physical traits to become a long time NFL starter and if developed correctly, he could become a perennial all-pro.

The bottom line is I believe Paris Johnson Jr. is absolutely worth taking with the 9th overall pick on Thursday. Would he be the perfect pick or is he the perfect prospect though? No. He still has areas to improve on and it’ll take time for him to improve on them, and that might come with a rough rookie season and a lack of immediate results. Regardless, Johnson is one of the guys I’d be ecstatic with the bears taking and barring a Jalen Carter fall, or a trade down, I expect him to be the guy putting on a bears cap on draft night.

This Fanpost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.