The Arizona Cardinals made a surprising move on draft day, trading up to the No. 6 spot with the Detroit Lions to select Paris Johnson Jr., an offensive tackle out of Ohio State to help protect Kyler Murray. Murray seemed to approve of Johnson days before the draft, and now his wish has come true. This trade up to No. 6 came after the Cardinals traded back from No. 3 to No. 12.
Following the selection of the hulking former Buckeyes offensive lineman, Murray had the following to say according to his Twitter account: “LFG! Let’s get to work big fella! @ParisJohnsonJr”
Murray is currently the fifth-highest paid player in the NFL per yearly salary, but the former Oklahoma Sooner only appeared in 11 games last season for a Cardinals team that finished 4-13.
He is expected to miss the start of the 2023 season as he continues to rehab his torn left ACL and meniscus.
With Johnson, a 6-foot-6, 310 pound interior lineman turned offensive tackle, in the mix, Murray can at least feel safer in the pocket when he does return to the Cardinals, and the team’s running game should improve as well.
Johnson was pressed into duty at left tackle and started all 13 games for the Buckeyes last season, leading the team to a near-upset of the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff. His tweet late Thursday night seemed to echo Murray’s sentiments: “BIRD GANG!! LETS GO TO WORK!!”
Johnson was called a “generational player” by former Buckeyes wide receiver coach Zach Smith last month, who added that he would take Johnson No. 1 overall and called him a future Hall of Famer.
The Cardinals have the second pick in Friday’s second round of the draft, which is pick No. 33 overall. The team will seek to add more help for Murray, Johnson, and the rest of an unfinished roster as the draft moves into its second day.
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