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Diontae Johnson is Having a Great Career.........And You Guys are Missing it!

Discussion in 'Steelers Talk' started by TuRnDoWnForWaTT, Jun 30, 2022.

  1. TuRnDoWnForWaTT

    TuRnDoWnForWaTT Well-Known Member

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    Every so often, a Steelers player comes along, that for whatever reason does not capture the hearts of Steelers fans. Sometimes it is attitude. Sometimes it is immaturity. In cases like Diontae it is this erroneous notion that he has bad hands. He does not, but I will get to that.

    The last Steelers player that I can remember, that was this under appreciated, was Fast Willie Parker. No matter what Fast Willie did, he was never going to be Jerome Bettis. Steelers fans wanted that bruising back that would truck stick Inside Linebackers in short yardage. Even though Willie got better at using power at the end of his career, it wasn't good enough for Steelers fans. The poor guy ran the ball until the wheels literally fell off. Despite being the Steelers 3rd all time rusher, Willie barely gets a mention when Steelers Greats are being discussed.

    Flash forward to 2022. You have Diontae Johnson. Here is a guy that was drafted from a small school, and only cost the Steelers a 3rd round pick. He rewarded the Steelers with instant success. Lets look at his career so far.

    2019 59 REC 680 YDS 5 TDS
    2020 88 REC 923 YDS 7 TDS
    2021 107 REC 1161 YDS 8 TDS


    So in 2019, Johnson comes into the league. Not only is he asked to contribute as a rookie, but he has to do so with Duck Hodges and Mason Rudolph throwing him the ball. He ends up having a solid rookie year despite terrible QB play.

    Beyond his rookie year, Johnson's numbers have increased every year. His Receptions, Yards, and Touchdowns have gone up every single year. Here is the biggest kicker. In 2021 Johnson had over 100 catches, and over 1100 yards and nobody cares! DJ is only the 4th Receiver in Steelers history to accomplish such a feat. This puts him in the same company as Hines Ward, Antonio Brown, and JuJu Smith Shuster. That is pretty good company to be in.

    Now lets get to the drops. In 2019 Diontae had 6 drops. Pretty impressive for a rookie campaign. This is a 3rd round pick after all. I already pointed out how bad the QB play was. 2020 is where Johnson developed his reputation for poor hands. In 2020 DJ had 13 drops. I am not going to argue that 13 is a large number of drops for an NFL receiver to have in one season. I am however going to argue that a lot of those drops were on Ben Roethisberger. Here's why. After the Dallas game in 2020, it became obvious that Ben Roethlisberger was struggling with his lower body. Ben was no longer stepping into his throws the way he once had. The velocity of his passes completely changed at the end of 2020. It wasn't only DJ who began dropping passes because of this. It was the whole team. Receivers rely on timing. A significant change in velocity, changes the timing of a catch. This affected DJ more so than others because DJ is frequently targeted more than others. Obviously this does not completely absolve DJ from blame. He still owns these drops on the stat sheet. But I am pointing out that there was more to the 13 drop season than just Johnson dropping passes.

    In 2021 Diontae Johnson had just 5 drops despite having the most targets of his career. As Steelers fans we are so quick to criticize players for lack of work ethic. Diontae deserves praise for putting in a ton of work to improve on his one perceived weakness. Sure.....Johnson could have thrown his QB under the bus. But he instead went to work in the offseason, and had the lowest number of drops in his entire career.

    The moral of the story is this. You guys are missing out on a Steelers player who is having quite an NFL career to this point. Diontae Johnson is one of the best route runners in the entire NFL. He has soft dependable hands, and he has the lateral quickness to run after the catch. Not only is Diontae Johnson the Steelers CLEAR #1 receiver, he is also a Top Ten NFL Wideout. The Steelers would be wise to pay this guy now. If DJ puts up the numbers he did in 2021, I have a feeling the Steelers will not be able to afford him.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2022
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  2. strummerfan

    strummerfan Well-Known Member

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    Nobody that is watching is missing anything. His numbers outside of the drops have been very good. However, you can’t discount the drops. Also Your numbers for 21 don’t include the two drops he had vs the chiefs. I doubt it would have made any difference in the outcome, but both ended drives(for lack of a better term). He’s a damn good receiver, but ignoring his drops are foolish in my opinion and a definite cause for concern. Additionally blaming the qb is a fool’s errand. The quarterbacks job is to put the ball where a receiver can catch the ball. Nobody needs to explain the receivers part of the equation. The Steelers knew they had a problem with drops and addressed it in the draft.
     
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  3. TuRnDoWnForWaTT

    TuRnDoWnForWaTT Well-Known Member

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    The Steelers addressed the Receiver position in the draft because they didn't have any on the roster. I don't think drops had anything to do with it.
     
  4. HeinzMustard

    HeinzMustard Well-Known Member

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    Yeah.... losing JuJu, McCloud and Washington pretty much guaranteed the Steelers were gonna draft at least 2 WRs.
     
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  5. S.T.D

    S.T.D Well-Known Member

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    For Me You are off on this one(for Me).....I like DJ, and think He's very good, but again....Trubisky, Mason, and Pickett may not. Would ....IMO.....be foolish 2 sign Him 2 a deal before We see what our other Qbs like 2 go 2.
    Would AB be resigned if We went off His 10 games without Ben???? 0 Tds, and only one 100 yard game???
    I'm not knocking DJ at all, but I'd sure hate 2 see the Steelers sign Him 2 a huge contract, and then see the Qb(whomever)....has more chemistry with a different Wr, or Wrs.
    Wouldn't You???
     
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  6. HeinzMustard

    HeinzMustard Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sold on DJ or Claypool. Right now, Harris and Friermuth are our only sure shot high production skill players.
     
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  7. Wardismvp

    Wardismvp Well-Known Member

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    I believe he is very quality receiver, let's hope he can continue his upward production. As someone commented, before paying him a bunch of money, lets see how chemistry play's out with our current qb's
     
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  8. Vox Ferrum

    Vox Ferrum Well-Known Member

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    I just do not see that "it" factor yet. Nice receiver and hard worker. He may indeed break out.as the guy, but I do not yet see that go to guy that extends drives, the one who can make something out of nothing.

    It's not lack.of appreciation, it's knowing that the current WR market is going to require we choose one..like we had to when we chose AB over the other young receivers at that time. And with that hope with that amount of cash the trajectory goes up. Not saying DJ can't be that guy, I just don't see a 25 million a year wr...yet.
     
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  9. OH Steeler Fan

    OH Steeler Fan Well-Known Member

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    I didn't even need to read all of that, he is a good receiver, but he isn't a game changing $20 million a year player.
     
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  10. 4124life

    4124life Well-Known Member

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    Willie got plenty of love here. He still does. About as much as a very good but not great back can get
     
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  11. Brice

    Brice Well-Known Member

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    I look for DJ to make his 3rd Pro Bowl this year with 1,400yds and 12 TDs.

    It would be a shame to watch him hit Free Agency next year, as there would be no way we could afford to sign him.



    Also, who's decision will it be to not sign DJ to an extension this year? Khan, Tomlin, or Rooney? I need to know who I can throw under the Bus for the next few years as we watch DJ become one of the best WRs in the league.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2022
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  12. 86WardsWay

    86WardsWay Well-Known Member

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    I don't see him ever being as great as AB was in his prime. Then again, not many receivers could ever match that production. It's just too bad AB became a diva and went nuts. Hopefully Johnson doesn't follow that same illogical path.
     
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  13. Vox Ferrum

    Vox Ferrum Well-Known Member

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    I can agree in so many things you say, and the market is the market. Yet look at the contract McLaurin just signed. 3 years, 70 million, 53 guaranteed, 23.33 average. Not saying they are the same type of receiver, but their stats since coming into the league are very similar. So this is about what you are going to have to pay DJ. If he balls out those numbers go out of sight next year. Is he that guy?
     
  14. jeh1856

    jeh1856 Just a thought

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    Yes

    If you knew anything about the Steelers you would have known this without having to need a grownup to teach you
     
  15. Brice

    Brice Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget to factor in this year. If you factor in this year, 2022, it is 4 years for 72 million, so he is actually going to average $18 million per year for the next 4 years.

    This is exactly what the Steelers should do with DJ. Give him a 3-year extension that has a 4-year average cost of under $20 million.


    I would put DJ up against Terry McLaurin any day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2022
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  16. TuRnDoWnForWaTT

    TuRnDoWnForWaTT Well-Known Member

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    IDK about that. If you followed message boards and talk shows at the time, Parker was often criticized, even as he put up good numbers. You barely hear his name mentioned now.
     
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  17. SteelersFanIrl

    SteelersFanIrl Well-Known Member

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    I really like Diontae, he is a really valuable part of the team. I dont think anybody is saying he isn’t good.

    The question I see continually brought up is whether he is a genuine #1 that can take over a game the way the best receivers in the league do. I would imagine that he is looking for near top of the market money, he is having a really nice career but right now I’d question whether he has done enough to warrant that kind of financial commitment quite frankly.

    One thing I would say for him is that he has played with such poor support in terms of scheme and QB in his three years that I think he can still get better, possibly a lot better. If he was playing in a better scheme with a top QB like Rodgers or Mahomes I think he could put up crazy numbers with the way he gets open.

    I hope they can come to an agreement and he stays around, but I wouldn’t blame the team for waiting to see what happens this year, how Diontae and the rookies perform etc. They can tag him next year while they try to get a deal done if needed.
     
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  18. TuRnDoWnForWaTT

    TuRnDoWnForWaTT Well-Known Member

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    That's the thing. Even if DJ only matches last year's numbers, signing him becomes difficult. You would be talking about a player, going into his 5th season, coming off back to back 100 catch seasons. I am not sure the Steelers will be willing to pay the type of contract that type of production warrants.

    I think it's definitely Tomlin's call. Tomlin played a large role in player decisions even when Colbert was here
     
  19. Steelers-MT

    Steelers-MT Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Brice

    Brice Well-Known Member

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    I asked because I don't know who is in charge of the details with player negotiations this year. I heard rumors that Tomlin was going to get more involved in the GM aspects of the team with Colbert gone.

    And long gone are the days where the owner did his own books and cut the players their checks at the end of the week, so I don't believe the owner is locked up in his office with an adding machine crunching numbers all day.
     
  21. jeh1856

    jeh1856 Just a thought

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    This was explained clearly in the post involving Khan being hired

    I know because I posted it

    Do your homework
     
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  22. Formerscribe

    Formerscribe Well-Known Member

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    He can't even spell Khan. Why would you expect him to know that?

    (No. Seriously. He misspelled the name of the Steelers' GM on another thread.)
     
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  23. Animus

    Animus Well-Known Member

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    This is feeling like de je vu. I'll agree the kid is a hard worker; I'll agree that he's a great route runner; I'll agree that he has a bright future; however, the kid is just not a game breaking WR. He's not the guy that's going to turn a 10 yard in-route into a 85 yard TD catch and run. He will get you key first downs and help move the chains. The only potential game changers are Chase Claypool and George Pickens at this time. His YPC wasn't totally his fault, but I'd like to see that YPC improve a couple of yards. I don't care what the WR market across the board is; I do not see him being more valuable than Fitzpatrick. Therefore, I don't pay him more than Fitzpatrick. Especially considering the potential talent in the draft there is to replace him. It's far easier to replace a very good WR via the draft than an All Pro S.
     
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  24. KMM

    KMM Well-Known Member

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    They didn't lose those three. They chose to move from them. JuJu, RayRay, and JimJim signed for a collective $1M more than they made last year. Could've easily kept any of them, but the FO decided they could do better.
     
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  25. KnoxVegasSteel

    KnoxVegasSteel Well-Known Member

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    Oh, for f**ks sake. This isn't an English class, professor. And you knew exactly who he was referring to. Only a pedant would keep track of other posters misspellings and grammatical errors on a damn MB.
     
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