As a rookie, Johnson turned 92 targets into 59 catches for 680 yards and five touchdowns, an impressive feat considering that Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges threw most of the passes for Pittsburgh last season. On one hand, James Washington out-gained Johnson in nine of 15 games and boasted a higher yards per route run. On the other, Johnson fared very well in Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception charting, which I’ve found is a helpful indicator of breakout potential. Even though Washington was more productive, Johnson out-snapped Washington in most of the later games that Johnson, Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster were all healthy, which indicates that perhaps Johnson won the No. 2 job last season. Regardless, the Steelers play a lot of three-WR and regularly have three receivers playing 70%+ of the snaps, so Johnson should have the opportunity to shine whether or not he’s ahead of Washington on the depth chart. The return of Ben Roethlisberger is obviously a big deal as well.
Oct 23 · 5:41 PM EDT