Paris Johnson

Making It Look Easy Does Not Mean It Is Easy

INDIANAPOLIS – For former five-star players the expectations to get to the NFL sometimes see like a forgone conclusion and little is thought about the amount of hard work that goes not only into getting that initial five-star rating but maintaining it and getting the invite to the NFL Scouting Combine.

When offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. committed to the Buckeyes, it felt like a sure thing that he would find his way to playing on Sundays and that dream is a step closer to being a reality as he is one of eight Ohio State players taking part in the annual event in the Circle City.

Johnson had a chance to talk to the media on Saturday morning and the Cincinnati Princeton product had a chance to answer questions both about football as well as his charitable foundation and all things in between.

Every player wants to be the first player from their position to come off the board and that is a real possibility for Johnson as he is a part of top offensive tackles that should not have to wait long to hear their names on night one of the draft.

Johnson was asked about the importance of being that first tackle taken.

“I feel like I’ve proven that in my film already,” Johnson said. “With this time, it’s me being able to show them in the interviews that I’m able to get on the board, I’m able to explain my technique of what went right, what went wrong, things I can improve on.”

Johnson will have the chance to show NFL execs and scouts all that he is capable of on Sunday when he does his on-field work as well as the bench press. He will not run the 40 at this time and it is unknown if he will run at Ohio State’s Pro Day in the future.

Working with the bags on the field is one thing but there are other things that will just have to be shown on the film with the controlled nature of the drill work.

“I can’t necessarily show my violence on the field,” Johnson said. “I’m sure none of the coaches want me to do something extra like that, you know what I mean? But I think just being able to reaffirm with them, being able to touch and feel and see in person.”

We also learned that Johnson’s first sport was not football, it was hockey and then followed up by gymnastics. Johnson was pulled from gymnastics when all of the other boys were pulled, but it is hard to imagine the hulking lineman doing a pommel horse routine or the parallel bars.

Even when it comes to football itself, Johnson did not walk into the game as an offensive lineman from day one. As with many players, it was a gradual move from position to position until one fit his body and his temperament.

“I started out as a safety then I was a quarterback, believe it or not,” Johnson said. “Then I was a receiver and a tight end (and then) a defensive end.”

Johnson was able to show his versatility at Ohio State where he started off at offensive guard before moving to his more natural position of offensive tackle.

“I think I’m a natural tackle, but at the same time I want to be part of the best five,” Johnson said. “If I have to learn how to snap and be the center, I’ll do it.”

Nobody is born into the position that Johnson is in, it took a lot of sacrifice by both him and his mother to get to this point and it is something that he will never take for granted. The plan was to be three-and-out at Ohio State, and here he is.

“I feel like Ohio State gave me opportunities and it gave me opportunity to do with it as I pleased, take advantage as much as I wanted,” Johnson said. “This is something I’ve always planned to (do), but again, I, I had to do everything right, you know?”

Everything has been done right and Johnson won’t have to wait long to find out his draft fate with the 2023 Draft set to take place at the end of April.

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