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Thread: Steelers Take WR Diontae Johnson

  1. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher View Post
    WR Diontae Johnson Not Participating In Team Drills To Open Rookie Minicamp

    By Alex Kozora 

    Posted on May 10, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Although Diontae Johnson was on the field for Day One of his NFL career, his role was apparently limited. He told the Trib’s Joe Rutter he was held out of team drills today. Johnson said it wasn’t injury-related but apparently didn’t elaborate for why he wasn’t a full participant.



    It’s hard to determine why the Steelers made the decision to hold him out. Field conditions were slick today thanks to morning showers and as Dave Bryan noted, Johnson had a history of slipping and poor footing in college. Maybe the team is being extra cautious.

    Johnson was selected in the third round, 66th overall, of last months’ draft. He’s expected to play the X receiver spot manned by Antonio Brown and work inside in the slot. His main competition will be Donte Moncrief, signed during free agency, and has a leg up being the veteran.

    At Toledo, Johnson caught 135 career passes for more than 2200 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also made splash plays in the return game with four career run-backs, two on kicks and two on punts.

    Let’s just hope Johnson is sitting out for non-serious reasons and that the rest of the 59 players attending this week’s minicamp make it through healthy. In OTAs last spring, the team lost Jerald Hawkins (quad) and Jake McGee (achilles) for the season.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/wr-diontae-johnson-not-participating-in-team-drills-to-open-rookie-minicamp/
    Maybe he had a "Big Chest" cold...

  2. #212
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    PFF says Steelers WR Diontae Johnson is a Rookie of the Year candidate

    by Tommy Jaggi

    It didn’t take long for Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson to get noticed. He was drafted high in the 3rd round with the 66th overall pick that Pittsburgh, ironically enough, received as part of the Antonio Brown deal.

    To many fans, Johnson was a complete unknown when the Steelers drafted him – a small receiver with below average athletic testing from the MAC. However, Johnson soon drew comparisons to former Steelers receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown with his quick twitch and ability to create separation.

    In an article from Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus, he placed Diontae Johnson 9th on list of 10 newly-drafted players who should be candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Here’s what he had to say:

    Not the next receiver you were expecting? Johnson goes to a Steelers club that heaved the ball all over the yard last season – Ben Roethlisberger’s 675 passing attempts were 36 more than any quarterback in the NFL. A whopping 164 of those targets are up for grabs with the departure of Antonio Brown. Now Johnson won’t replace Brown’s production, but he should replace his role within the offense with a very similar skill set.

    Renner is obviously higher on Diontae Johnson that the most of the mainstreamed media was during the draft process. It’s not often you see a 3rd round pick draw consideration for Offensive Rookie of the Year before he ever sees the field in the NFL. However, it’s not too hard to see why with Johnson.

    The former Toledo receiver is a cut of the same breed as Brown and Sanders – an undersized receiver that excels as a route runner and really knows how to play the game. In a Pro Football Focus article from April 30th, PFF writer Steve Palazzolo they had this to say about Diontae Johnson to the Steelers:

    Prior to the draft, we compared Johnson to former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, so the fit here is obvious. We’re not predicting a Hall-of-Fame career for Johnson, but he adds sharp-cutting route running and a knack for getting open that the Steelers need to tap into with Brown’s departure. Johnson has a path to the field immediately given the inconsistency surrounding the rest of the receiving corps around JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Ben Roethlisberger may have a new favorite weapon in short time.

    Obviously, Pro Football Focus is assuming that Johnson is going to step into Antonio Brown’s role at some point this season. Renner and Palazzolo are both very high on Diontae Johnson and what he could potentially bring to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Other than JuJu Smith-Schuster, we don’t know which receivers will emerge as Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets in 2019. The Steelers have James Washington – a player they spent a 2nd round pick on in 2018. They also grabbed Donte Moncrief in free agency this offseason.

    Johnson may not start the season as the Steelers number two receivers, but it”s plausible enough that he could overtake the veterans at some point during his rookie campaign.

    For what it’s worth, we do know that Pro Football Focus considers Diontae Johnson a Rookie of the Year candidate. We will get a better feel for his role on the Steelers as a rookie in the coming months.

    https://stillcurtain.com/2019/05/09/...ear-candidate/

  3. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher View Post
    WR Diontae Johnson Not Participating In Team Drills To Open Rookie Minicamp

    By Alex Kozora 

    Posted on May 10, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Although Diontae Johnson was on the field for Day One of his NFL career, his role was apparently limited. He told the Trib’s Joe Rutter he was held out of team drills today. Johnson said it wasn’t injury-related but apparently didn’t elaborate for why he wasn’t a full participant.



    It’s hard to determine why the Steelers made the decision to hold him out. Field conditions were slick today thanks to morning showers and as Dave Bryan noted, Johnson had a history of slipping and poor footing in college. Maybe the team is being extra cautious.

    Johnson was selected in the third round, 66th overall, of last months’ draft. He’s expected to play the X receiver spot manned by Antonio Brown and work inside in the slot. His main competition will be Donte Moncrief, signed during free agency, and has a leg up being the veteran.

    At Toledo, Johnson caught 135 career passes for more than 2200 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also made splash plays in the return game with four career run-backs, two on kicks and two on punts.

    Let’s just hope Johnson is sitting out for non-serious reasons and that the rest of the 59 players attending this week’s minicamp make it through healthy. In OTAs last spring, the team lost Jerald Hawkins (quad) and Jake McGee (achilles) for the season.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/wr-diontae-johnson-not-participating-in-team-drills-to-open-rookie-minicamp/
    If they held him out because he doesn't do well on wet surface, well, that's not a good sign, IMO. We're going to have a lot of games where the turf is wet/slick.

  4. #214
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    2019 Steelers Draft: Diontae Johnson has ‘playmaker’ written all over him

    To get to know the Steelers’ 2019 NFL Draft picks I reached out to their college affiliates to get to know them a bit more!

    By Jeff Hartman
    May 15, 2019, 10:26am EDT

    When any NFL team drafts new players, fans want to learn as much as they can about those particular prospects. What do they do well? What do they struggle with? How about their highlight reel?

    For me, I like to talk to people who actually know them best, and this is one of the best aspects of working for SB Nation. After the Steelers selected their full compliment of players, I reached out to the writers who covered them in college to get to know them a little better.

    In my opinion, these writers are the ones who watch them every play, every week for multiple years. So, today we hear from Steve Helwick from The Hustle Belt (SB Nation’s MAC website) as he gives us the lowdown on Pittsburgh’s first third round selection Diontae Johnson.

    See the interview below:

    1. Steelers fans were shocked when the team took Johnson with their first 3rd round pick. To calm those concerns of the black-and-gold faithful, sum up the type of player Johnson was at Toledo.

    At Toledo, Diontae Johnson was an absolute playmaker. Whether lining up as a receiver or a return specialist, he was the most electric player on the field at all times. Johnson was always capable of completing the home run touchdowns, and he struck from 70+ yards many times in his college career. The game that sticks out to me most from his two years as a starter at Toledo was a midweek matchup versus Ball State in 2017. In a 41-point win, Johnson finished with 170 receiving yards on four receptions, an 87-yard punt return, and three total touchdowns. He has great speed and is an expert at creating separation on routes, and he’s great in the open field after catches or on punt returns too.

    2. Johnson’s route running, speed and elusiveness has been compared to Antonio Brown. Lofty expectations, but what does Johnson do well that sets him apart and makes him worthy of a 3rd round designation?

    Diontae Johnson’s final two years at Toledo reminded me of Antonio Brown at Central Michigan in terms of being a lethal downfield threat and dangerous return man. Unfortunately for Diontae, he’s going to be compared to Brown and his ridiculous stat-lines for the rest of his Steeler career because Pittsburgh decided to select a receiver with that third round pick from Oakland. But the two are the same build, ran within 0.05 seconds of each other on the 40-yard dash, and hail from the same conference. But what Johnson has that warranted a third round pick is great athleticism and route running. His footwork on his routes is top-notch for the 2019 NFL Draft class, and he often dominates one-on-one man coverage with his agility and cuts.

    3. On the flip side, what is it Johnson struggles with that might make the transition from college to the NFL rougher than expected?

    One of Johnson’s greatest issues at Toledo was drops. He was great at getting open but struggled hauling in every pass headed in his direction. Once he burst onto the scene in 2017, his low point was at the 2017 Dollar General Bowl where he caught two passes for 21 yards. Something that might also hinder Johnson during the transition to the NFL is strength. The 5’11”, 180-pound receiver will be playing defenders on a different caliber of strength and tackling ability. Strength could be an issue on contested catches upon entering the next level. Lastly, when looking up his stats, Steelers fans might notice a concerning drop in production from 2017 to 2018, but I think the primary reason was the loss of a talented quarterback in Logan Woodside (whose AAF play led him to an NFL contract) and Toledo attempting a two-QB system for the majority of Johnson’s final season.

    4. Johnson said he can play both in the slot and on the outside, where did he excel the most while in college?

    Johnson played more frequently on the outside in college but he lined up in the slot on many plays as well. He was equally effective in both areas, although, Toledo often found success lining up Johnson in isolation near the sideline and targeting him on seam routes due to his ability to shed coverage. With the Steelers, I predict he’ll primarily line up in the slot with James Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster manning the outsides. I see him playing a similar role to the one previously held by Eli Rogers in the past when on offense. On special teams, I’d love to see Pittsburgh work him in with Ryan Switzer on punt returns because I think he could find initial success there. Overall, I see Johnson developing as an Emmanuel Sanders-type player for the Steelers, who has seen success in both the slot and outside in a solid NFL career.

    5. What is Johnson’s demeanor both on and off the field?

    I haven’t spoken to him before, but Johnson has always come across to me as a very motivated player. Similar to Toledo’s other wideout Cody Thompson (now a UDFA with Kansas City), most of Johnson’s tweets concern hard work, motivation, and other uplifting messages. He went from a lowly-rated recruit to a freshman special teams player to one of the top-10 receiving yards leaders in the FBS in just a couple years. Just four years after committing to Toledo, he rose to third round pick status without a hefty college sample size. That definitely speaks volumes about his work ethic.

    6. If you could sum up Johnson into a word or sentence, what would it be?

    I feel like I may have overused the word, but “playmaker” is essentially what Diontae Johnson is. He was Toledo’s go-to when in need of a big play and helped elevate the Rockets to many wins over the past two seasons. Another game that sticks out is the Toledo-Tulsa shootout of 2017. Johnson posted 142 yards on four receptions to essentially win the game for Toledo with two deep touchdowns in the fourth quarter.


    A huge shout out to Steve for taking the time to answer my questions! Be sure to check back to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the offseason.

    https://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2019/5/15/18624145/2019-steelers-draft-diontae-johnson-has-playmaker-written-all-over-him-toledo-nfl-draft-news
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    Love all the pics you're posting Hawaiian!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern_Blitz View Post
    Love all the pics you're posting Hawaiian!
    I agree. Thanks

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  8. #218
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  9. #219
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    Steelers Rookie WR Diontae Johnson: ‘Everything Is Starting To Slow Down For Me’

    By Dave Bryan
    Posted on May 29, 2019

    The Pittsburgh Steelers second week of 2019 OTA practices will come to a close on Thursday and while it’s incredibly hard to tell how the younger players are progressing in their development during the annual football in shorts sessions, at least it sounds like a few of them aren’t as overwhelmed as they may have been during the first few sessions. Rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson, the teams’ first of two third-round draft picks this year, appears to be at least one young player starting to settle in nicely with the OTA process.

    “Everything is starting to slow down for me a little bit,” Johnson said after a practice, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The first week was kind of fast. I’m like, ‘It’s a lot.’ I’m taking it in slowly.”


    Johnson being a bit overwhelmed the first week of OTAs and finally having things slow down during the second week is provably a common occurrence not only with the Steelers, but around the entire NFL. That said, it’s always good to hear a player say that’s the case.

    According to Rutter’s report, Johnson apparently claimed that his best OTA practice time to date has come early in sessions when gets to work more in individual drills with starring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    “He brought me over to get the routes and timing down with him,” Johnson said, per Rutter’s report. “I want to show him I can run good routes and be consistent.”

    Interesting enough, Steelers veteran tight end Vance McDonald recently commented on the progress that Johnson has made thus far during the team’s OTAs when he recently addressed assembled media members and he even brought up how the Toledo product has gotten to work some with Roethlisberger.

    “He’s sort of like this wildcard that Ben kind of throws in every now and then to just sort of see how and feel what he can do,” McDonald said of Johnson, according to steelers.com. “But I think the guy can fly, so it’ll be fun to see him light up I think in preseason.”

    Johnson said early on in OTAs that he’s mostly working on the outside and that’s not overly surprising being as he’ll likely best fit in initially with the Steelers at the X position. Even so, Johnson also played some in the slot while at Toledo. His ability to quickly separate from all types of coverages quickly off the line in college might be the best in this year’s wide receiver draft class. Even if that’s true, it’s hard to imagine him getting too much playing time in the Steelers offense during the first quarter or half of the regular season.

    In case you missed it, Mike Clay of ESPN.com recently released his early individual player stat predictions for the 2019 Steelers and he has Johnson catching 28 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown in his rookie season.

    It will be interesting to hear what Darryl Drake, the Steelers wide receivers coach, has to say about Johnson’s progress when he next meets the media and that’s likely to occur sometime during the team’s mandatory minicamp in June. Until then, we’ll have to just assume that Johnson’s development is on schedule and continue to anticipate seeing him play quite a bit in the Steelers 2019 preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that will take place 10 weeks from tomorrow.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/05/st...w-down-for-me/

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    Ramon Foster ‘Really Looking Forward To Seeing’ More Of Diontae Johnson

    By Matthew Marczi
    Posted on June 1, 2019

    Ramon Foster has built up a bit of a reputation for having an eye for talent after picking up early on players like Mike Hilton and Jaylen Samuels over the course of the past few years before they really showed in training camp or even in the regular season what they were capable of.

    So people like to go for him to get some feedback about what he’s seeing from players. Mike Prisuta did just that for the team’s website recently. While he called out a couple of his own, a pair of undrafted offensive linemen, and also highlighted James Washington, there was another wide receiver that he liked seeing, even if he has reportedly remained somewhat limited.

    That would be Diontae Johnson, the Steelers’ early third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. There was a report that the team even had a first-round grade on him, though they would not confirm that when it was asked of them.

    “Our third-round receiver, he has some tools, and there was a comparison to a guy that came in a year after me that they were like, he’s really looking advanced”, Foster said, referring obliquely, in case you didn’t catch that, to Antonio Brown. Brown was drafted in 2010, while Foster came out in 2009.

    “He has an opportunity”, Foster said of him. “He’s a guy that I’m really looking forward to seeing”.

    According to those in attendance, Johnson was sidelined by the coaches during rookie minicamp from team drills, though he still participated in individual drills. I have also read indications that he still remains somewhat limited, but has been worked into team drills as well now.

    Johnson was acquired with one of the two draft picks that the Steelers received in return for the Brown trade after they sent him to the Oakland Raiders for third- and fifth-round draft picks. The fifth-round pick was turned into tight end Zach Gentry, who figures to be more of a project.

    There is an opportunity for Johnson, as Foster said, but it won’t necessarily be easy to get to it. While JuJu Smith-Schuster is cemented as the Steelers’ top wide receiver, there may be a position battle for the next several spots between Washington, Johnson, and free agent pickup Donte Moncrief.

    There does seem to be some degree of favorability for Johnson from Ben Roethlisberger, however, which is by far the best way for a young skill position player to get on the field. He reportedly ran Johnson through some individual drills at one point and was helping to instruct him how to run the route better. He also calls for Johnson to be mixed into his first-team reps.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/ra...ontae-johnson/

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