KANSAS CITY, Missouri (WCMH) — Former Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. was selected 6th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday.
The Cardinals traded the No. 3 pick to the Houston Texans and moved back to No. 12, but a few minutes later Arizona traded up to No. 6 with the Detroit Lions to select Johnson Jr.
The Cincinnati, Ohio native is the first OSU offensive lineman drafted in the top ten since Orlando Pace who was picked No. 1 overall by the St. Louis Rams in 1997. It’s also the first time a Buckeyes offensive lineman was drafted in the first round since 2018 when the Bengals selected center Billy Price 21st overall.
“Once your name gets called, it’s all work,” Johnson said at OSU’s Spring Game on April 15. “Now, it’s the next step of taking somebody’s job and being able to keep it for the next 10-12 years, so that’s the goal.”
The 21-year-old Johnson was a consensus all-American in the 2022 season after leading the Buckeyes offensive line unit in all 13 games. Standing at 6’6″ and weighing 310 pounds, Johnson only allowed 14 pressures on more than 440 pass-blocking snaps. He also played all 13 games in 2021 at guard, a position he had never played before but learned on the fly in order to be a starter for the Buckeyes.
His impact was also felt off the field. Johnson was named the 11th recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award for the work done by his foundation, The Paris Johnson Jr. Foundation. The foundation, established during his days at Princeton High School, has raised more than $15,000 to assist veterans, student-athletes and the homeless. Johnson’s foundation is dedicated to empowering and serving disabled veterans and disadvantaged student athletes with helpful resources that benefit them.
Johnson is the third offensive tackle from Ohio State to be drafted in the last two years and he won’t be the last. Dawand Jones started at right tackle for two years protecting C.J. Stroud and is expected to be taken in the second round Friday.