Cardinals’ Paris Johnson Jr. breaks down his move to left tackle: ‘I’ve done it at a high level’

May 20, 2024, 7:00 PM

Paris Johnson Jr. is not new to playing left tackle, but he will get his first NFL opportunity to protect quarterback Kyler Murray’s blindside.

Head coach Jonathan Gannon announced during organized team activities Monday the plan to move Johnson from right tackle to left. Free agent signee Jonah Williams will be on the right side.

Johnson started 13 games at left tackle for Ohio State in 2022, so is this move challenging or a simple return to a familiar spot?

“I think it’s kind of a mix of both,” Johnson told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Monday. “One, it takes time to switch. At the same time, I’ve already done it at a high level. I haven’t done it at the pro level yet, but I’ve taken a lot of reps at a high level at left tackle.

“I think it is just about getting back in that routine because the techniques and the fundamentals we learn here in our offensive line room, it works left or right. It doesn’t change at all. Now it’s really more about feet, your balance, which foot are you trying to drive off with now? Which foot are you trying to dig in the ground a little bit more now? That’s really just the reps.”

Johnson played every available offensive snap at right tackle last season with D.J. Humphries at left tackle before he suffered a torn ACL late in the season. Gannon said he has veto power to switch Williams and Johnson if he sees fit, given Williams has experience playing both.

Johnson was dominant as a left tackle in college, earning unanimous All-American honors. The Cardinals will use OTAs to see how it goes and evaluate.

Paris Johnson’s next steps

Johnson takes pride in his pass protection, saying the best left tackles do not lose. He also wants to be known as a ferocious run blocker as he continues to improve.

“I’m the type of person where I love pass protection. That’s my favorite thing in the world to hear a pass play called, I love it. But I want to take the same demeanor I have toward pass protection in the run game as well. You know what I mean? I want to be seen as a powerful run blocker as well, consistent play after play after play. And I feel like for me, that’s a huge emphasis going into this season.”

Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing told Wolf and Luke he has never played tackle in the NFL, so he does not know the exact challenge of moving from one side to the other. But he has confidence in Johnson picking it back up.

“I think that if he never got into a stance over there and never taken a rep, it might be a little bit of a bigger transition depending on his comfort level and how much he was able to read. Knowing that he’s already done it, my guess is he’s not even going to blink.”

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