Name: Anthony Johnson
Position: Wide Receiver
Class: Redshirt Senior
School: University of Buffalo
Pros: Johnson’s mix of size and speed allows him to line up in multiple formations. Though primarily an outside receiver, Johnson can be played in the slot, and will at times motion into the backfield. Plays larger than his size indicates. Is adept at going up over defensive backs and high-pointing the ball. Shows excellent body control along the sidelines and in the open field. Strong hands to come down with the ball in traffic and with defenders draped all over him. Showcases good football acumen locating the ball and knowing when to make a play on it to minimize the defensive back’s reaction time. Tenacity jumps off the screen at you, in multiple ways. Johnson is unafraid to mix it up in the middle of the field and is not going to be stopped when he’s determined. Will make tremendous catches in traffic, and will not be brought down with arm tackles. In the run game, Johnson shows an eagerness at times to engage with the defensive backs. Johnson is a solid blocker, though there is significant room for improvement in that facet.
Cons: Johnson doesn’t quite have the agility you would expect from a receiver of his size. Playing bigger than his size cuts both ways. It’s great when he’s high-pointing balls along the sideline and in the red zone, but it also hampers him upon release. He doesn’t have many nuances in his releases from the line of scrimmage which may significantly impact his ability to get open at the next level. Johnson does appear to have some wiggle in him when he has a head of steam in the open field, though. Saw significantly lower usage in 2018, recording more than 20 fewer receptions for over 400 fewer yards, as Johnson was not schemed open and manufactured touches as often as 2017. Though Johnson is an eager blocker, he does have lapses in this area. Will frequently disengage too quickly from his block, allowing his man to make a play on the ball. Will occasionally misjudge angles and get caught reaching — and sometimes whiffing entirely — for the defender.
Outlook: Anthony Johnson was one of my early favorites in the 2019 NFL Draft wide receiver class this summer. There was a lot of potential within him, and I initially viewed him as one of the leaders in this class. I still think he’s one of the top seniors in the draft class, but he’s been overshadowed significantly by some of the underclass talent available. This is, in my opinion, a very good draft class at receiver and Johnson doesn’t quite bring as much to the table as a lot of other options. Overall, I do think Johnson will have a solid — if unspectacular — career in the NFL as a reliable outside possession receiver, and will make a good option for someone late on Day 2 or early Day 3.