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Gannon: Paris Johnson Jr. To Left Tackle, Jonah Williams Is Right Tackle

Cardinals moving 2024 first-round pick to opposite side

Paris Johnson Jr. works at left tackle during Monday's OTA.
Paris Johnson Jr. works at left tackle during Monday's OTA.

Earlier this offseason, Jonathan Gannon said he wouldn't be announcing his plans for what side tackles Paris Johnson Jr. and Jonah Williams would play until the regular season arrived.

On Monday morning, the Cardinals coach noted his ability to change his mind.

Gannon said that Johnson would indeed be moving to left tackle after playing the right side as a rookie, while Williams, signed as a free agent in March, will play the right side for a second straight season after playing left tackle his first few years in Cincinnati.

"We'll see how that looks," Gannon said, noting that that's where each of them have been working since the team took the field for Phase Two work three weeks ago. Gannon added he has the "veto power" to move them back.

The Cardinals began Phase Three work – which means players can wear helmets and offense and defense can face each other for the first time – on Monday.

"Paris obviously playing both, Jonah playing both, but we'll start there and see how it goes," Gannon said. "That's what they both feel comfortable with right now."

Will Hernandez, who played right guard alongside Johnson last season, joked that he and Johnson have exchanged looks down the line at each other now that they have been split up.

"At the end of the day we are all here to do what's best for the team," Hernandez said. "No one here is thinking where they want to play -- we're all good with whatever the coaches want to do. Either way, I know (Paris) is going to thrive out there on the left side and do a hell of a job."

Johnson played every offensive snap last season at right tackle. He finished his career at Ohio State at left tackle, although he played right guard the previous year for the Buckeyes.

"I'm not a guy who says I can only play this or play that," Johnson Jr. said the day after the 2023 season ended. "This offseason I am going to continue to train for both sides just to be ready. When my number is called, if it is called to go left, I'll definitely be ready."

Williams said he enjoyed playing right tackle last season with the Bengals -- after initially resisting the move -- and said when he signed it didn't matter. In Cincinnati, his move to the right allowed him to set career-best marks in pressure rate allowed, 1-on-1 pressure rate, sack rate and average time to pressure, according to Next Gen Stats.

The Cardinals' offensive line figures to have Johnson at left tackle, Williams at right tackle, Hernandez at right guard, and Hjalte Froholdt at center. Left guard, with various options – Elijah Wilkinson, Evan Brown, and rookie Isaiah Adams among them – remains TBD.

Froholdt can play guard but Gannon said "I like where he's at right now playing center."

"In the end we need the best five out there, so if they need me at guard or at center, I'm willing to play it," Froholdt said. "I feel pretty good where I am at right now, but this is also the time of year to try some things."

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