Arizona Cardinals: Ohio State’s Paris Johnson should be the number one pick

Ohio State v Maryland
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The NFL Draft is just over 48 hours away, and the Arizona Cardinals could already know who they are taking in the first round.

The Arizona Cardinals have an opportunity in 2023, and that opportunity involves forging a new identity for a team that doesn’t have one. One way to tell the NFL that this is not a rebuilding, but a repurposing, team, is to have a solid draft, even if you could call a few picks surprising. 

And that’s what the Redbirds will do if they select Paris Johnson Jr. on Thursday, who might just be the best offensive lineman in the draft. Drafting Johnson may not make fans immediately cheer, but his coming to the desert would be yet another step to repurpose this team from the inside and out. 

Arizona Cardinals cannot pass on Paris Johnson this Thursday night

If the Cardinals draft Johnson, they could have a franchise left tackle that they can eventually set and forget for the next 10 to 15 seasons, assuming he isn’t a perennial bust. And I’ll give you a forgone conclusion: He won’t be.

Johnson’s presence will, in time, also let the Cardinals slide D.J. Humphries to right tackle, and Kelvin Beachum can back up both sides. Josh Jones can perhaps slide in and play guard, a position he’s not unfamiliar with, while Will Hernandez mans the second guard position, allowing Dennis Daley and Elijah Wilkinson to provide depth. 

This would peg Hjalte Froholdt in as the starting center, but even he could be a depth man if the Cards go with a center in the second round, completing what would be a formidable offensive line that could evolve into one of the NFL’s best. 

Taking Johnson would also give fifth-year quarterback Kyler Murray ultimate protection on the blind side. While Humphries has done a sound job at the position and could do so for at least another season, he doesn’t have the same tread left on his tires as Johnson, who again, could be in the desert for over a decade. 

In the immediate future, you could potentially see the Cards keeping Humphries at tackle while Johnson plays guard, Froholdt (or a rookie) at center, Hernandez at right guard, and Beachum at right tackle. Though once Johnson is ready to take the reins at tackle, then you could see the line mix things up in the other example I provided. 

Overall, it’d be a smart pick for the Arizona Cardinals. And drafting Johnson would do more than just give the Redbirds one of the NFL’s better offensive lines. 

Related. Cardinals could wait and draft an edge-rusher in Round 2. dark

Source: Kyler Murray Tells Cardinals to Draft Paris Johnson by Donnie Druin,