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2019 NFL Draft Grades: Grading the Steelers first 3rd round pick of Diontae Johnson

In a truly surprising move, the Pittsburgh Steelers used the 66th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft to select Toledo WR Diontae Johnson.

NCAA Football: Eastern Michigan at Toledo Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Very rarely do I find myself at a loss for words, but the Steelers selection of WR Diontae Johnson has left me in just such a predicament. I am absolutely flabbergasted if I am being honest, and anybody who has had the misfortune of reading one of my articles knows I know no other way. My main desire is to be both accurate and fair, to each new Steelers addition but also to each member of Steelers Nation. I want to speak for the average red blooded Steelers fan, because that is what I am to the core. So here we go, please forgive my frankness.

I, like every other rational Steelers fan walking the planet, was super excited to see all the high end talent left for the Steelers to peruse over when the 66th selection rolled around. I was anxiously anticipating another difference maker to be obtained, considering the smorgasbord of talent at their disposal.

I thought a wide receiver could be the next target seeing how the Steelers would want to try and replace some big time production that recently left the building. I was actually pleased when DK Metcalf was taken off the board by the Seahawks. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to supply Big Ben with the WR with length that he has been praying for over the years. Hakeem Butler seemed like a no brainer if it was a wide receiver. Then the Steelers pick was announced, and my jaw hit the floor. I was half right, it was a receiver, but not one any of us were expecting.

How do I grade a selection that feels like a massively unnecessary reach of epic proportions? First I will focus on the good news. The Steelers know Diontae Johnson very well, seeing how they invited him in for that predraft visit. Johnson's professional comparison is none other than Antonio Brown. Johnson is 5'10" and 183 lbs. which is almost identical to Brown. Johnson ran a 4.53 40 which is also similar to AB. Even Johnson's strengths and weaknesses listed in his draft profile sound all to familiar. Excellent footwork and release off the line. Consistent hands and slippery in the open field. Kick return ability. Weaknesses include questionable top end speed and concentration lapses. Sound like anybody else we used to know?

So what is my problem with this selection you ask? He sounds like a clone of the elite receiver that recently left the program. Brown was a sixth round selection who turned out to be an incredible value, especially for a late round pick. Johnson was already on my radar, as the Steelers were interested enough to request that visit, but I thought he would warrant sixth round or later consideration. I may be wrong, but I can't imagine another team was waiting to run up to the podium to select Johnson anytime soon.

I may be wrong and Lord knows I hope I am. I will be rooting for this kid big-time to be successful. I trust the Steelers brass knows what they are doing and obviously feel they have found a diamond in the rough. However I am basing my grade for this selection strictly on draft position value. I believe the Steelers could have waited at least till the sixth round to have made this pick.

Therefore I am giving the Diontae Johnson selection a disappointing grade of D.

What grade do you give this selection? Please vote in the attached poll and explain your reasoning in the comments section below.

Welcome to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Diontae Johnson! From all of us at Steelers Nation!


What overall grade do you give this Pittsburgh Steelers selection?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    A = Excellent pick
    (3435 votes)
  • 26%
    B = Above average selection
    (2011 votes)
  • 15%
    C = Solid selection
    (1220 votes)
  • 8%
    D = Below average selection
    (663 votes)
  • 4%
    F = Terrible selection
    (358 votes)
7687 votes total Vote Now