There are loads of rock-solid NFL gamers on every roster whose had work and energy appear to fall by way of the cracks, going unnoticed every week. No matter how spectacular their stat strains are or how regular their play is, they by no means appear to get the dues that they deserve. Earlier right now, Jeff Kerr at CBS Sports formulated his list of underappreciated players, and he honed in strictly on the AFC aspect of the fence. For the Steelers, a stunning identify emerged of their Pro Bowl large receiver Diontae Johnson, who’s as regular as they arrive on the place however once I sit and give it some thought, his identify is rarely in the identical dialog with the Cooper Kupps, Tyreek Hills or Davante Adams’s of the league.
“Emerging as one of the game’s top young wideouts, Johnson registered 75-plus yards receiving in eight games in 2021, which was tied for the fifth-most in the NFL,” Kerr stated on CBSSports.com. “He has recorded five or more catches in 12 straight games, which is the second-longest active streak in the NFL (Cooper Kupp has 21 straight).”
His stats appear to again up his positioning as one of many premier receiver abilities within the league, as final yr he produced 107 grabs for 1,161 yards and eight scores, and crossed the 1,000-yard barrier for the primary time in his profession. Perhaps that’s a motive why he’s not but talked about among the many greats, as they’ve been producing these 1,000-yard measuring stick-type of seasons longer. Hill, as an example, will probably be gunning for his fifth 1,000-yard season subsequent yr together with his new staff, the Miami Dolphins.
Another fascinating factor to investigate is the drops, which have appeared to plague Johnson all through his brief profession so far, particularly throughout his sophomore season in 2020. That season, Johnson registered 13 drops, main your complete league. However, final season he solely dropped 5 passes, an unlimited enchancment, but additionally confirmed it’s one thing he labored on throughout final offseason. It’s value noting although that almost all of final season’s drops occurred within the closing few video games of the season, thus it’s contemporary in our minds.
If you ask any Steelers fan, they are going to most of the time inform you DJ could be very a lot appreciated, as he’s the staff’s unquestioned go-to receiver and will probably be making the lifetime of both Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett a LOT simpler subsequent season. He’s an excellent route runner, and his brief profession span of 254 catches, 2,764 yards and 20 touchdowns all put him on a brief record of receivers who’ve achieved these numbers on this time-frame.
These numbers are all very deserving of an extension, so it’s no surprise Johnson momentarily held out of OTA’s earlier this offseason to voice his displeasure. However, he lastly confirmed up as he intends to place his finest foot ahead and honor his present contract. As his sport continues to ascend, there’s no telling precisely how good he might be for this staff as they give the impression of being to interrupt in a brand new quarterback subsequent season. However, he needs to be closely leaned on by whoever is beneath heart, and though to some folks he could also be checked out as underappreciated, odds are these views will quickly be altering, and so will the dimensions of DJ’s checking account.