If the Las Vegas Raiders don’t want to address their wide receiver situation with the 12th or 19th draft selections, they should strongly consider Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson.
In 2017, the Golden Gophers scored 22 points per game, which ranked 110th out of 130th in the NCAA. That year, Johnson, caught 35 passes for 677 yards and seven touchdowns. This stat line is similar to production for Henry Ruggs III in 2019, and at that time, Johnson was only a sophomore. In 2018 and 2019, Johnson caught a total of 164 passes for 2,486 yards and 25 touchdowns. During his offensive dominance in 2019, Minnesota had the 22th scoring offense and finished 10th in the final AP poll, their best record since 2003.
Raiders Blog: Tyler Johnson should be on the team’s radar
Johnson is a very physical wide receiver who can bring down contested catches. Standing at only 6 feet 1 inch, he can body defenders in contested passes. He also shows flashes of speed here and there. At Minnesota, he was able to get open on easy slant routes for big gains. In this clip, you can see Johnson beat his defender off the press, and then use his physicality to shield the defender off the ball and make a great touchdown catch.
What an incredible touchdown grab by Tyler Johnson. #Gophers pic.twitter.com/uD7T4MsRDQ
— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) January 1, 2020
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Johnson has been physical for his entire college career and opposing cornerbacks couldn’t handle his physicality and toughness, which makes him one of the most statistically proven college receivers in the 2020 NFL draft.
Minnesota's Tyler Johnson set a single season record with 12 touchdown catches last year, which tied for first in the Big Ten. pic.twitter.com/VmjqYW0gHr
— stayaliveinpower5 (@stayaliveinpow1) July 21, 2019
Johnson’s physicality, sneaky quickness, tough mentality and great hands could make him appealing in the second round of the draft. On the other hand, he does have some problems. For starters, he isn’t the tallest, the quickest, or the biggest wide receiver. His frame is relatively middle of the pack, if not smaller than most receivers. Also, he doesn’t have super quick feet and great route running, which is keeping him from being a top prospect in this draft.
Johnson relies heavily on his physicality which could hurt him at the pro level when he is facing physical cornerbacks. His NFL comparison is AJ Brown, the standout rookie for the Titans in 2019. Brown is a physical pass catcher who can get open and beat defenders. He doesn’t have the amazing 40-dash time or the elite route running abilities, however he was very successful in his rookie year. Johnson could end up being that kind of receiver for whoever picks him in the draft.
The Raiders could definitely polish Johnson and he could be yet another second or third round steal in this very deep wide receiver class. A Raiders trade down from the 12th or 19th slot seems to be possible as Las Vegas has no second round selections this year. If a trade down were to happen, Tyler Johnson could be on the team’s radar as a second round pick.
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