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NFL Draft Rewind: No. 13 Paris Johnson Jr.

Paris Johnson Jr.
Paris Johnson Jr. (AP Images)

The NFL Draft kicks off with its opening round on April 27 in Kansas City, so Rivals is taking a look back at its projected first-round picks when they were high school prospects. We move on to our projected No. 13 – Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr., who was a five-star prospect in the 2020 class.

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No. 13: OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State

Where they were ranked: A five-star prospect in the 2020 class, the Cincinnati Princeton standout was ranked as the the No. 1 player in the state rankings, third at offensive tackle behind Georgia signees Broderick Jones and Tate Ratledge, and No. 21 overall.

Recruitment: Johnson committed to Ohio State in June before his junior season and stuck with the Buckeyes even after then-coach Urban Meyer resigned and Ryan Day took over. During that transition it got a little interesting as Johnson said basically the entire SEC and some ACC schools were trying to flip him, but he stayed committed to Ohio State.

Biggest draft question: If there’s one thing that NFL decision-makers have an issue with it’s that he might have to gain more power in his blocking and some technique issues, but those seem like concerns that are easily fixable.

Paris Johnson Jr. in January 2020
Paris Johnson Jr. in January 2020 (Nick Lucero/

Memories: Johnson did not do many camps during his high school career but he was a dominant force first at Cincinnati St. Xavier and later only a few miles away at Princeton, and it seemed inevitable that he would be a five-star prospect.

He moved so well, was so dominant in run- and pass-blocking and then showed up to the All-American Bowl the year before his recruiting class just to hang out and experience the environment.

By that time, Johnson was already committed to Ohio State and he opened up about Meyer leaving the Buckeyes and sticking with his Buckeyes' pledge. From that interview I took away two things: Johnson is super intelligent and he cares about his business, focused on what’s going to get him to the NFL.

The following year, the five-star offensive tackle was decent during one-on-one reps at the All-American Bowl. He was great during team drills and especially in the game.

Years later, there will still be a debate about whether Johnson is the best offensive tackle in that class or whether it’s Georgia’s Jones, who should be drafted right around this spot as well. It was the same question we were trying to answer years ago when they were in high school.