The focus of the Falcons’ offseason should be on the defense, but that’s not how Terry Fontenot and company will approach the draft, nor should they. The best way to approach the draft is by selecting the best player available, and the Falcons have too many holes to focus strictly on needs. The offensive line was a bright spot for this team in 2022, but Kaleb McGary is a free agent. The Falcons could sign him to an extension or franchise tag him, but regardless, offensive tackle will be in play this draft cycle.
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Paris Johnson Jr. Draft Profile
Paris Johnson Jr. came to Ohio State as a five-star recruit after proving to be one of the most physically menacing recruits in recent memory. In 2021, he started for the Buckeyes as their right guard before moving to his more natural left tackle position in 2022 as a Junior. That kind of versatility should be appealing for the Falcons, especially if they decide to franchise tag Kaleb McGary. In the future, Johnson Jr. could end up playing tackle or guard in Atlanta. He could also end up being the franchise’s left tackle down the road once Jake Matthews decides to hang it up.
Johnson is a mauler in the run game that plays with an attitude. He has breath-taking size at 6’6, 315 pounds. Athletically, he moves like a player that’s much smaller, able to get out in space and make critical blocks in the run game, something that’s necessary for Arthur Smith’s offense.
As a pass blocker, Paris Johnson Jr. is up there with the top prospects in this draft as well. He does need to add some more strength and work on his technique, but given his athleticism and size, that shouldn’t be much of an issue. If someone like Dwayne Ledford is able to get his hands on Johnson Jr., the rest will take care of itself.
Offensive line was a strong point in the Falcons in 2022, but it needs to be for Arthur Smith’s offense to work. There are still areas where this unit can improve, and there might not be a bigger weapon than having an offensive front than can bully opposing defensive fronts. The game is won in the trenches. Nobody knows that better than Smith and this coaching staff. I would have no problem if the Falcons chose to bolster their offensive line in the first round, and Paris Johnson Jr. should be near the top of the list.
Photographer: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire
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