Following the 2020 NFL season one of the biggest questions surrounding the Steelers offense was whether Diontae Johnson could become a true No. 1 wide receiver. If you recall, Johnson was struggling with drops and it had gotten to a point where he was benched in games. But a renewed focus entering the 2021 season has seen Johnson break the dropped ball spell and put together numbers that match some high quality NFL receivers.
When Diontae Johnson was a rookie he led all first-year pass catchers in receiving yards in a group that included D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, and Terry McLaurin. At first glance, it looked as though Johnson could be the best of the bunch. But monstrous years in 2020 by the names listed above, and Diontae’s league leading 14 drops, saw the Toledo alum tumble down the receiver rankings. While so many of the receivers of the 2019 class are among the best in the league, Johnson has been able to overcome his past missteps and place his name amongst the other stars.
So far in 2021 Johnson has put up:
68 Receptions (6th in the NFL)
809 Yards (12th in the NFL)
4 Touchdowns (30th in the NFL)
And is on pace for
These are legitimate numbers for a top target on your team. In all honesty, Diontae Johnson has been a bright spot for the Pittsburgh Steelers and will be a big factor in this offense for years to come. With Johnson eliminating his dropped targets he has proved a player can overcome early issues in their career and teach themselves how to improve on a skill. Players like Devin Bush should take a look at Johnson’s ability to overcome an issue and apply it to their own offseason programs.
Diontae Johnson has blended together speed and agility to make himself a stellar weapon in the passing game that can get himself open on a variety of routes. It would be amazing to have seen Johnson play with Ben Roethlisberger back in his prime. While no one has ever had the skillset that Antonio Brown possessed, Johnson certainly plays a similar style of game and could put up eye-popping numbers like Brown once did.
Johnson has put himself in a position to be a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL for years to come. But what do you think? Did you expect Diontae Johnson to improve this much in one offseason. Let us us know your thoughts in comments below.