NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal has named his breakout candidates for the 2021 season, and believes third-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson will be just that for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rosenthal expects Johnson to overcome the drops that plagued him a season ago, and in turn become an even more dynamic weapon for Pittsburgh.
“You have to get open a lot to drop the ball as much as Johnson did in 2020,” Rosenthal writes. “While the streakiness was frustrating, Johnson makes too many excellent hand catches and grabs in tight traffic to believe that he’s destined to struggle with drops forever. In a league increasingly reliant on man coverage, Johnson’s ability to beat one-on-one matchups is nearly unmatched.”
Rosenthal is predicting a big season of opportunities and production for Johnson as a result.
“I’d take the 2019 third-rounder over Chase Claypool as the Steelers’ No. 1 wideout this year, and I’ll take Johnson to go over 1,200 yards in his third pro season,” Rosenthal writes.
Johnson caught 88 passes for 923 yards, which led the team, and seven touchdowns in 2020, but also led the league in dropped passes.
Rosenthal isn’t the only one at NFL.com who is bullish on Johnson either.
Rosenthal’s colleague Marc Sessler predicted Johnson will be a first time Pro Bowler this season earlier last month.