Tyler Johnson Checks Some Boxes for Tampa Bay
Early in the draft process Johnson was expected to be a higher selection, but his stock may have dropped due to some questionable choices this offseason. In January, Johnson elected to drop out of the East-West Shrine Game -- to work on preparing for the combine, according to The Athletic's Dane Brugler. But then Johnson also elected to skip the workout portion of the combine, participating in only position drills.
It's possible these decisions, plus the inability for teams to work out Johnson in person, contributed to his steep fall in the draft.
How He Wins
As demonstrated by this chart from CFB Film Room, Johnson's has a well-rounded skill set, which bodes well for him carving out a role in the NFL.
By request, here's Tyler Johnson's 2019 breakdown. Production on the deep ball and on shorter route after the catch makes him a well-rounded weapon in this draft class. pic.twitter.com/ZANbNXfpQ7
— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) April 21, 2020
Johnson was primarily used in the slot at Minnesota, where he was lined up for 82 percent of his targets, according to Sports Info Solutions. We typically think of slot receivers as players who excel on shorter routes, but Johnson proved to be a capable downfield weapon for the Gophers. Per Sports Info Solutions, Johnson saw 33 percent of his targets on the deep ball (at least 15 yards downfield). And, according to Pro Football Focus, only Jerry Jeudy and Justin Jefferson had more receptions of at least 15 yards than Johnson did over the last two seasons.
With consistent usage and production on the deep ball, Johnson should be consider more than just a slot receiver, despite his usage at Minnesota. If he does get placed in the slot, however, his production after the catch on short and intermediate routes bodes well for his continued success in that role.
How He Fits in Tampa Bay
Johnson will obviously fall behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the Bucs' depth chart at receiver, but he could compete with Justin Watson and Scotty Miller for the third receiver role, vacated by Breshad Perriman.
Last year Perriman primarily lined up on the outside and was regularly used as a deep threat. However, the Bucs' offense is likely to change slightly with Brady at quarterback. Brady does not challenge defenses downfield at the same rate as Jameis Winston. This could be why the Buccaneers added another receiver with extensive experience on short and intermediate routes in the slot.
Since he'll need to battle two teammates for playing time, Johnson is not immediately on the fantasy radar. If he wins that battle, however, he could emerge as a fantasy-relevant receiver and would have significant upside in the event Evans or Godwin missed time due to injury. In deeper redraft leagues or dynasty leagues, Johnson may be worth stashing for this reason.
Our JJ Zachariason pegs Johnson to post meager numbers as a rookie -- 24 catches, 321 receiving yards and 2.7 touchdowns.