Why Paris Johnson Jr. is the safest choice for Chicago Bears drafting ninth overall
There is going to be a big debate about what the Chicago Bears should do with the ninth overall pick. While the best case would be them adding a tackle, the question is which one fits them best. There are legitimate cases to be made for Broderick Jones, Peter Skoronski, and Paris Johnson Jr.
While Jones may have the highest peak, and Skoronski may be the safest, Paris Johnson Jr. may be the perfect play in the middle.
Chicago Bears should draft Paris Johnson Jr. in 2023 NFL draft
The obvious debate between Johnson and Skoronski will be arm legnth. It is one thing that Skoronski is a half inch or so away from the threshold, but his arm length is legitimately close to 4" less than Paris Johnson.
It is like the 5'10" wide receiver who is good, but there is a 6'3" receiver who can do almost all of the same things. It is hard to not roll with the guy who has the extra four inches. With tackle, that arm length is such a huge difference. Being able to strike first, and being able to hold off longer defensive lineman sets such a higher ceiling.
We recently looked at NFL tackles with similar length to Skoronski and could not find any. Braden Smith came out as a guard, but worked fine at tackle. Still, he is a right tackle, was a second round pick, and he has not been an All-Pro player. If you look at a more recent top ten pick to get drafted with that length, it is Robert Gallery, a well-known bust pick.
When you are talking about the lack of length you are talking about limiting the ceiling. Maybe Skoronski will be fine, but it is less likely he will be elite.
However, he will more than likely be elite as a guard. For Johnson, the upside to be elite is there. Tackles who have 36" arms or longer include Russell Okung, Andrew Thomas, Orlando Pace, Tyron Smith, and D.J. Fluker.
Paris Johnson has rare length and you can see elite tackles who used that rare ability to their advantage. Skoronski is an outlier in the other way in which it is hard to find anyone close to those names at his size.
For Broderick Jones, he has good enough arm length, although he is about an inch shorter. His high-end ability and atletc upside is elite. On the run as a second level blocker, and as a puncher who can finish with power the best player is Broderick Jones. Those are traits that translate to the NFL.
Still, Paris Johnson may not be Peter Skoronski, but is more technically refined. He does not miss as much as Jones, and has bit less to be refined.
He has more upside than Peter Skoronski, and he is safer than Broderick Jones. He has some elite players to compare to, and he checks everyother box. The Chicago Bears should draft Paris Johnson Jr.