Would you be surprised if I told you that the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted one of the most perfect fits of the 2019 NFL Draft last weekend? Would you be surprised if they actually drafted two? Because I do think that can be the case, starting with the potentially dynamic inside linebacker, Devin Bush, in the first round.
The other seemingly great fit on paper was their next draft pick, Toledo wide receiver Diontae Johnson, which Pro Football Focus highlighted recently in an article pointing to some of the players that they felt paired really well with their new teams.
“Prior to the draft, we compared Johnson to former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, so the fit here is obvious”, Steve Palazzolo wrote for the site. “We’re not predicting a Hall-of-Fame career for Johnson, but he adds sharp-cutting route running and a knack for getting open that the Steelers need to tap into with Brown’s departure. Johnson has a path to the field immediately given the inconsistency surrounding the rest of the receiving corps around JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Ben Roethlisberger may have a new favorite weapon in short time”.
I think the offseason will be very interesting to watch unfold to see how the wide receiver position plays out, because one can argue that there are as many as three candidates who can be legitimately considered as in competition for the primary starting wide receiver position across from Smith-Schuster.
Considering how hey they were on Johnson—though when asked by Mike Florio, General Manager Kevin Colbert refused to address the report that they had a first-round grade on him—one has to assume that Johnson will probably be in that mix. After all, their last two Day-Two selections at wide receiver played extensively and in starting roles as rookies.
Smith-Schuster himself was one of them, and the other is James Washington, who didn’t have much production in spite of a wealth of snaps. he will be expected to take a significant couple of steps forward this offseason as he competes for a starting job.
The other competitor will be the only one who has actually had tangible success as a starter in the league, that being Donte Moncrief, who spent most of his career with the Indianapolis Colts but most recently was with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Of the three, Johnson’s skill set is unquestionably the most similar to the player that they lost in the offense, that being Brown. While he is obviously not going to duplicate Brown’s numbers, the compatibility he will have within the offense in that regard will be an advantage toward receiving early playing time.