The Arizona Cardinals have landed the top tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft after trading up from No. 12 overall with the Detroit Lions and selecting Paris Johnson Jr. out of Ohio State.
Ian Rapoport believed that Johnson would have been gone by No. 7 overall to the Las Vegas Raiders. They traded down from No. 3 overall and moved back up to get Johnson as a result. With it, they still secured a coup of draft picks to go with their rebuild to help out Kyler Murray.
As one of two pure left tackles among the first-round group, Johnson sits atop the board as the guy with potentially the most potential in the NFL Draft. There were many that talked about the Steelers potentially hopping up the draft board to secure Johnson, but it seems like that was always more wishful thinking than an actual possibility that could happen.
All of Darnell Wright, Peter Skoronski, and Broderick Jones are still on the board, but without Paris Johnson left on the board, it could start a run on tackles with plenty of needy teams before Pittsburgh comes onto the board at No. 17. There is no consensus on who Pittsburgh will pick there for a reason and that is because there is no obvious best player available at tackle that they could hop right on after a run on tackles.
Johnson coming off the board could be the first step for that, or it could simply mean that the teams saw a huge gap between Johnson and the rest of the field at this point. In a report earlier this week, Tony Pauline noted that many teams believe there is a significant ‘talent void’ at left tackle, and that Johnson is easily the best pure player of the bunch. With only he and Jones options that everyone believes in, it pushed Johnson up the board as a result.