Diontae Johnson isn't being held to the expectations of Antonio Brown, but he's going to have a shot to play in the same role with the Steelers. The swift, quick-twitch receiver out of Toledo was a monster in 2017 before settling into smaller numbers in 2018, totaling over 2,000 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns across those two seasons (27 games). He also succeeded on special teams, averaging over 20 yards per punt return and over 23 yards per kick return. Johnson doesn't have the strength to break tackles but does have the speed to take a short pass long distances and deep passes to the house. Kinda like Antonio Brown. And he is capable of lining up anywhere on the field. Kinda like Antonio Brown. Expect a steep learning curve for Johnson, but it doesn't mean he's not worth a late-round pick in seasonal leagues. Bump him up a bit in dynasty/keeper leagues as he'll be worth taking around Round 10 or 11. Also, he's a second-rounder in rookie-only drafts.
The Steelers selected Johnson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, 66th overall. Johnson was the only combine invite of Toledo's big three at receiver, with teammates Jon'Vea Johnson and Cody Thompson being left out of the proceeings. Johnson curiously is the worst athlete of the three, running only a 4.53-second 40 at just 5-foot-11, 183 pounds. His vertical (33.5 inches) and agility score (11.54) are poor as well. The NFL is evidently sold on his route running and hands, which are likely the main reason he posted 2,039 yards and 21 touchdowns over his last 27 games. Pittsburgh already has two slot prospects in Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer, so it might be tough for Johnson to make an immediate impact in the passing game. However, he's a standout punt returner who could make a strong case for himself on special teams. This selection also might indicate a general intention to give more outside snaps to Juju Smith-Schuster.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New England Patriots||14||21.68|
|3||09/22||@San Francisco 49ers||30||26.13|
|6||10/14||@Los Angeles Chargers||7||18.44|
|10||11/10||Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
|16||12/22||@New York Jets||32||27.38|