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It’s Time To Stop Sleeping On This Steelers Player

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

While the Pittsburgh Steelers have a good spread of weapons for quarterback Kenny Pickett, One of them will be heavily under the microscope of some fans this season. Many Steelers fans are eager to see how Diontae Johnson will rebound after a season that saw him score zero touchdowns. At the same time, he was still relatively productive despite the goose egg in the touchdown category, even though some fans won’t tell you that.

Johnson finds himself in a peculiar situation heading into year five. He’s the wide receiver one in a room with a budding superstar in George Pickens and a surehanded veteran, Allen Robinson, among other talent like Calvin Austin III.

Revolving Doors

Johnson has been a featured weapon of the Steelers offense pretty much since his rookie season in Pittsburgh. After acquiring the draft pick that went on to be Johnson in addition to the pick that would be tight end Zach Gentry in the trade that sent Antonio Brown to Oakland, Pittsburgh found its new number-one receiver and didn’t even know it.

Johnson has spent his whole career as a victim of things he can’t control. Although he and future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger had a good connection, Johnson hasn’t had the privilege of playing with a premium quarterback in the league. Besides Big Ben, Johnson had the one-season see-saw of Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges throwing him passes. Going into his second year with Pickett, he has to be excited about the step Pickett takes.

Steelers Quiet Assassin

With all the receiver talent in today's NFL, it’s easy to overlook a guy like Johnson. Drop issues in the past have set him up for a rocky relationship with some Steelers fans, but he has all the tools to be a top-15 receiver in the NFL. The former third-round pick made the Pro Bowl in 2021 and was a First Team All-Pro for his work in the Punt Return department in 2019 as a rookie. His success rates speak for themselves.

Johnson has played 64 games in his career, All with Pittsburgh. He’s gathered 340 receptions for 3,646 yards and 20 touchdowns. He averages 10.3 yards per reception and 5.3 receptions a game for his career, something Matt Canada and the Steelers could look to juice this season. Last season, despite not scoring a touchdown, Johnson did find the endzone for a pair of two-point conversions to go with his 882 yards on 86 receptions. He also started all 17 games and found himself on the field for 90% of offensive snaps.

In addition to being a great guy for George Pickens to have in his corner as he matures in the league, Johnson will be a key part in the size of Kenny Pickett's step in year two. If Pickett can find a way to get him more involved than last year while also feeding the many hungry men at the Steelers dinner table, the Steelers are in for a good year.


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