PFF: Room for growth in Cardinals rookie Paris Johnson Jr.’s preseason

Aug 31, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: 8:27 pm

Paris Johnson Jr. (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...

Paris Johnson Jr. (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

Preseason football may not count in the standings, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Players are still putting plays on tape and earning positions on depth charts.

Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus on Tuesday graded the first-round draft picks of the 2023 NFL Draft following their performances in the preseason.

The Cardinals offensive tackle, Paris Johnson Jr., who was taken with the No. 6 pick out of Ohio State, was given a grade of 59.8 out of a possible 100 by PFF.

Johnson’s play was limited in the preseason, playing 15 snaps in each of the two games for Arizona, and not suiting up in the third.

Says Sikkema:

He finished with a 74.8 pass-blocking grade after allowing just one pressure on 18 true pass-blocking reps.

Now, Johnson’s grade isn’t at all alarming or an indicator. A good majority of the first-round picks PFF graded in the preseason had grades in the 50s and 60s, like Johnson. And there’s also the limited snaps.

Of the four first-round offensive tackles, Johnson ranks second from the top, with the whole group jumbled up in similar scores.

  1. Darnell Wright, Chicago Bears (Tennessee) Pick 10. PFF grade: 62.8
  2. Paris Johnson Jr., Arizona Cardinals (Ohio State) Pick 6. PFF grade: 59.8
  3. Anton Harrison, Jackonsville Jaguars (Oklahoma) Pick 27. PFF grade: 59.1
  4. Broderick Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers (Georgia), Pick 14. PFF grade: 58.8

Snap counts varied by player and team. The first rounder with the most snaps in the preseason for an offensive tackle was Jones with 141, while Wright had just seven snaps.

Johnson is slated to started at right tackle for the Cardinals opening day against the Washington Commanders in Maryland.

The Cardinals acquired the Houston Texans’ No. 6 pick, which they used to draft Johnson, and a 2024 first-round pick on draft night for their No. 3 overall pick.

Top 5 preseason grades per PFF:

  1. Jalen Carter, defensive lineman, Philadelphia Eagles (Georgia) Pick 9. PFF grade: 91.4
  2. Will Anderson Jr., edge rusher, Houston Texans (Alabama) Pick 3. PFF grade: 90.4
  3. Jordan Addison, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings (USC) Pick 23. PFF grade: 84.5
  4. Zay Flowers, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens (Boston College) Pick 22. PFF grade: 83.7
  5. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks (Ohio State) Pick 20. PFF grade: 77.0

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