Paris Johnson Jr. is Going to be a Bear, Isn’t He?
After whiffing on every high-profile quarterback target they had eyes on at the start of the new league year in 2021, the Chicago Bears went out looking to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft in search of a quarterback.
And for my money, the second best QB prospect of that class was Justin Fields.
So you know I’ll never forget my reaction when I saw the image of then-Bears Coach Matt Nagy standing with Ryan Day at Fields’ pro day. It even sparked a full-on post from us:
History has a funny way of repeating itself. And the NFL isn’t exempt from this. So when I saw that the Bears were rolling deep at Ohio State’s pro day and had an obvious need at a position where they could get one of the best prospects, I had flashbacks. And then I saw this tweet from PFF’s Brad Spielberger, which stopped me in my tracks:
In case you’re not up to speed, the person circled in PFF Brad’s tweet is Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles. And the player he is watching is Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr., one of this draft class’ best offensive tackle prospects. Plus, thanks to Pats beat writer Khari Thompson, we know that Johnson was working out of a right tackle’s stance:
It’s almost too perfect. The Bears have a need for a player like Johnson. And Johnson would probably love to reunite with the former Buckeye QB who is currently Chicago’s QB1.
To be clear, I’m not pegging Johnson as a Bear just because he has ties to Fields and plays a position of need. Honestly, that stuff helps his case. But let’s not water down the conversation with that stuff. Instead, let’s note that Johnson is a highly regarded prospect. PFF has Johnson as OT2. So does ESPN’s big board. Same for CBS Sports. And if you believe Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski is destined to play guard, then I suppose it would make Johnson OT1 on all these boards. Skoronski appears to be the consensus top offensive lineman in this class. But what if the Bears think Johnson is that guy? It wouldn’t surprise me.
I don’t care that we can’t quantify it. But just know that I’ll attribute that part of what got the Bears in a spot to draft Fields in 2021 was our collective willing it into existence as a fan base. Sometimes that stuff works. And even though I’m still sorting through my draft preferences with the ninth pick, I’m down to repeat the steps we took in 2021 to get Johnson here in 2023.