‘Definitely All-Pro:’ Diontae Johnson’s Goals Set High Bar For 2023 Season

After signing a two-year extension to remain in Pittsburgh, Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson had a down season in his fourth year in the league. Johnson failed to catch a touchdown pass despite racking up 86 receptions for 882 yards. In 2023, Johnson has goals set on a much better season. After the first session of OTAs today, he was asked his aspirations for the 2023 season.

“Definitely All-Pro. Pro Bowl, over a thousand yards, over a hundred catches,” Johnson said in a video posted to “Saying that in the most humble way.”

When asked how he can achieve those goals, Johnson talked about preparation.

“Really just preparation and how I’m feeling. Just being comfortable out there, knowing what I’m doing, and everything comes after that.” he said.

Johnson’s goals are lofty but certainly not unattainable. He’s already had a season with over 100 catches and 1,000 yards with a Pro Bowl appearance, that one after hauling in 107 receptions for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021, Ben Roethlisberger’s final season. He actually has an All-Pro appearance as well, as he was a second-team All-Pro return man as a rookie, a season when he returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown and averaged a league-high 12.4 yards per return.

Last year, the Steelers had just 12 passing touchdowns as a team, and none of those went to Johnson, setting a dubious record for most receptions in a season without a touchdown. I wouldn’t expect Johnson to be held off the scoreboard this season. The offense should expand in Kenny Pickett’s second season, and the Steelers added more help at receiver with the addition of Allen Robinson II. Couple that with the expected progression out of tight end Pat Freiermuth and second-year wideout George Pickens, and defenses won’t be putting as much attention on Johnson. He still managed a solid year as Pittsburgh’s number one receiver last year, especially given that the team wasn’t really a passing offense, so I’d expect him to return closer to his 2021 form in 2023.

Johnson has his fair number of head-scratching plays. Drops plagued him early in his career and rearing their ugly head a little bit again last season when he was marked with seven. He also has a tendency to run horizontally and not vertically, which can cost Pittsburgh some yardage.

All of that leads to fans getting down on the fifth-year receiver, which in a way almost makes him a little bit underrated. It really wouldn’t surprise me if he eclipsed 100 receptions and 1,000 yards in 2023. While he might not be an All-Pro, another really solid year out of the Toledo product could be in store. If that’s the case, the Steelers should enjoy a good bit of success in 2023.

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