WR Diontae Johnson spoke with reporters Tuesday morning as shared by 93.7 The Fan and talked about several different topics during his media availability including his contract situation, coming in and working hard during OTAs, and being a leader out there for a young and relatively inexperienced offensive unit.
Johnson was also asked whether he had been putting in any work during the offseason with the quarterbacks on the roster, of which Johnson responded with the first name being the one not often considered to be in line to take meaningful snaps for the Steelers this season.
“Chris Oladokun,” Johnson responded to the question initially. “Like I say, we play seven-on-seven together and work out together back at home. I’ve known him for a while, so just being able to throw with him and just having him on the team is a plus because he’s from the same area as I am.”
The relationship between Johnson and Oladokun has been there since their high school days, having been rivals on the gridiron down in the same area in Florida before going off to college. As detailed after the selection of Oladokun by Steelers Depot’s Josh Carney, Oladokun reiterated Johnson’s statement above when addressing the media after being selected by the team, saying that the two train together at a gym in Tampa and throw regularly together during the offseason to get much-needed reps in for their development as well as build on their long-standing friendship.
While Oladokun finds himself clearly behind the likes of Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and fellow rookie Kenny Pickett in terms of the QB pecking order on the depth chart, it’s great to see him having the opportunity to work with an established receiver like Johnson who can help his development at the NFL level in terms of getting familiar with the playbook.
However, Johnson did make sure to address the other bodies in the QB room regarding if has worked with them this offseason.
“I threw with Kenny [Pickett] a little bit as well as Mitch [Trubisky],” Johnson continued. “Just to catch the ball from those three, and they all got a different spin to it. All I could do is just keep working and praying that they get better at their game each and every day and bring their best foot forward every day.”
It should likely be expected that Johnson has met up with both Trubisky and Pickett at least in some fashion, as he referenced above to throw with each other to develop rapport with one another prior to the start of OTAs and mandatory minicamp. Trubisky invited a host of Steelers skill guys to his Florida home back in early April to get some work in together as well as develop more of a bond with one another reports differ as to whether Johnson was in attendance for those throwing sessions, but it would be reasonable to expect that he was able to meet up with Trubisky at least at some point to build some chemistry together prior to the start of OTAs.
While Johnson doesn’t mention Mason Rudolph by name here in his quote, the two obviously share the greatest connection when it comes to a live game perspective of any of the QBs on the roster. Rudolph was the primary starter at QB for Johnson’s rookie season in 2019 when Ben Roethlisberger went down to injury in Week 2, as well as in two other starts by Rudolph in the past two seasons. So, while Rudolph may have been excluded from Johnson’s initial comment, there shouldn’t be much room for concern as the Pro Bowl wideout attempts to become more familiar with all the QBs on the roster heading into a pivotal contract year in 2022.