The Pittsburgh Steelers know how to draft wide receivers. This should be well known by now, but it doesn’t stop the fan base from getting frustrated at times. One of those times was during the 2019 NFL Draft when the team took Toledo wide receiver Diontae Johnson with their first of two third round selections.
Message boards everywhere saw the dreaded ‘R’ word being used with an incredible frequency.
That word — REACH.
However, after the selection Darryl Drake, wide receiver coach, took to the podium and spoke glowingly of Johnson. Not just as a player, but as a person.
Steelers receivers coach Darryl Drake on Diontae Johnson: “He’s a tremendously gifted young man, the most naturally gifted catcher I’ve seen in a long while.”— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) April 27, 2019
"I've been doing this for 40 years and he was one of the best interviews and guys I've been around."— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) April 27, 2019
But back to the fact many are seeing Johnson’s selection as a reach. According to Drake, when the Steelers made the pick the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were furious due to the fact they were planning on taking Johnson with their next pick.
Drake said everyone raved about Diontae Johnson at his Pro day, and that Tampa Bay coach just called him and “cussed me out.” Said Johnson wouldn’t have lasted until their next pick.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) April 27, 2019
In other words, the Steelers didn’t feel Johnson would make it to their second third round pick, and they coveted him making the pick a no-brainer.
Letting this come full circle, if there is a fan base who should trust their favorite team when it comes to drafting wide receivers, it should be Steelers fans. I recall when the team selected JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and many fans were saying the same stuff.
“What a reach!”
Seems as if that pick turned out just fine, didn’t it?
While websites like CBS Sports will bash this selection, citing them having Johnson as No. 237 on their overall Big Board, black-and-gold fans should remember what team they root for. If there is one thing Steelers fans should always remember is they know what they are doing when it comes to pass catchers.
Trust the process and see how this pans out.