Arizona Cardinals draft offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. No. 6 overall, fans agree on protecting QB Kyler Murray

Johnson’s father drafted by Cardinals in 1999


Erik Drost (Flickr)

Arizona Cardinals helmet displayed at NFL draft

Hannah Hamilton, Reporter

The Arizona Cardinals held the No. 3 overall pick entering the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday night, but traded it to the Houston Texans for the Nos. 12 and 33 picks and a first and third round pick next year.

Not long after that, perhaps realizing their target selection may not be available much longer, they traded back up to the No. 6 pick with the Lions.

They selected Ohio State offensive tackle, Paris Johnson Jr., whose father was drafted by the Cardinals in 1999, but was injured during his rookie season.

12 News and 12 Sports AZ Emmy award-winning sports anchor Cameron Cox shared this tweet about Johnson’s desire to be a Cardinal.

“Paris Johnson Jr told #AZCardinals GM Monti Ossenfort during the draft process ‘I want to be here. I want to be an Arizona Cardinal and finish what my dad started,” per 12 Sports AZ.

Paris played a total of 57 games as a Buckeye.  He was named to the second-team All-Big Ten in 2021 and won first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-American honors in 2022.

Johnson previously made a smooth transition from guard to offensive tackle, a hole which the  Cardinals needed to fill in their roster.

Cardinal’s fans didn’t have much to cheer for most of last season, but it seems like now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Longtime Cardinals fan Aaron Gloria sounded relieved at the selection.

“The Arizona Cardinals finally drafted a position that could really help out the Cardinals. Maybe Kyler Murray doesn’t need to use his legs as much and could focus on throwing to our weapons,” Gloria said.

Amon Harper is another fan who agrees with the direction the Cardinals took.

“I like the pick, it shows the Cardinals are finally picking what’s best for the team and not just picking ‘flashy’ picks. Not only that, they’re finally listening to their franchise QB,” Harper said.

Providing protection for Murray has made other fans hopeful for better chemistry in the locker room.

“It’s a good pick… creates a good environment between Kyler and the new staff. Trading back also helps the Cardinals pick up players in multiple areas,” said Cardinal’s fan Zeke Lujan.

With his selection, Johnson becomes the first Ohio State offensive tackle taken in the first round since 2016.

Johnson Jr. is more than a football player.

He set up his “Paris Johnson Jr. Foundation” while in high school, to help disadvantaged children and veterans. According to the foundation website they have raised over $15,000 and Johnson Jr. was awarded the Armed Forces Merit Award in 2022 for his efforts.

Johnson seems to have affected many people.

“Paris Johnson might be my favorite human being in the draft. Writer for the Ohio State newspaper, speaks Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese, started a charity for veterans while in school and is oh … great at football,” tweeted  NFL Network’s James Palmer.

The Cardinals will be “on the clock” right away, with the second pick (No. 33 from Houston) of the second round on Friday.