Paris Johnson draft projections: Could the premier left tackle fall to the Steelers?

Steelers, Paris Johnson Jr.
Steelers, Paris Johnson Jr. / Ben Jackson/GettyImages

The further we advance deeper into the pre-draft process, the more it looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers could be taking an offensive tackle with their first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Tackle has been one of the team's top projected positions of need since the season ended and with Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan skipping out on some of the top cornerback pro days, we could see the Steelers take an OT in the first round for the first time since 1996.

Some of the top offensive tackle prospects have checked the boxes so far this offseason. Though the team didn't have their brass on hand for Northwestern's Pro Day for Peter Skoronski, Mike Tomlin, Omar Khan, and several others were at both Georgia and Ohio State for pro days.

Broderick Jones has been one of the most frequently mocked players to Pittsburgh at pick 17 during the predraft process. But what about Paris Johnson Jr.? Is there any way he could fall to the Steelers in the first round this year?

Paris Johnson Jr. draft projection

If you have been following closely, you probably already know that hope hangs on by a thread here. According to the latest consensus board by Marcus Mosher (in which he averages the big board rankings of five top NFL Draft analysts), Johnson comes in well above Pittsburgh's slot as the 12th overall player in the 2023 NFL Draft.

NFL Mock Draft Database has Johnson even higher. Their formula has him as the 9th-best draft prospect this year with his most frequent projection to the Tennessee Titans with the 11th overall pick.

Teams most likely to draft Paris Johnson before Steelers

The consensus board rankings do not necessarily mean that Johnson will be drafted between the 9th and 11th pick, but based on team needs and projections, he could fall somewhere pretty close to that range. Here are the teams that could draft him before the Steelers get a shot.

Chicago Bears, 9th overall

Many mocks frequently slot an offensive tackle to the Bears, though it's hard to say exactly who that player will be. There are rumors that Chicago really likes Northwestern's Peter Skoronski, but that could always change.

Tennessee Titans, 11th overall

If the Bears don't take Paris Johnson Jr., perhaps the Titans do. Tennessee parted ways with long-time OT Taylor Lewan this past offseason, and they have yet to find a serviceable replacement. Johnson may not be exactly what they are looking for, but he's already good value at this point for a premier position.

New York Jets, 13th overall

Here's where it gets really challenging. Even if Johnson somehow falls past the first two tackle-needy teams, it's very unlikely the New York Jets would let him slip through their fingers. The Jets are projected to take a tackle in nearly every mock draft with Mekhi Becton missing half of his career so far with injuries and no other quality option at the position.

How Steelers can draft Paris Johnson Jr.

The options here are pretty simple, barring a miraculous slide on draft day, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have to be willing to trade up in order to acquire the former Ohio State standout. In 2019, the Steelers moved from pick 20 to pick 10 for Devin Bush, and it cost them the second-rounder and future third (as well as the 20th overall selection).

If Pittsburgh is dead set on Johnson in a trade-up, it would likely cost them the 17th selection and one of their two second-rounders this year, as well as a day-two pick in 2024. As of now, this seems like the only way the Steelers will have a chance at taking Paris Johnson Jr. in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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