The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense had a good offseason as well as a good draft, as they landed Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Tristan Wirfs to protect Brady, RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn and a nice late-round receiver in Tyler Johnson at 161st overall in the fifth round. Johnson was considered by many as a receiver that would go much earlier in the draft and showed just how deep wide receiver was this year.
Johnson was a quarterback in high school but was quickly turned into a wide receiver in Minnesota, even getting some playing time his freshman season. Johnson had a great junior season, catching 78 passes for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns and could have come out for the draft then but decided to stay to get his degree and put up another big season with 86 receptions, 1,318 yards, and 13 touchdowns.
Johnson decided not to run at the combine and use his Pro Day instead, but coronavirus restrictions ended up cancelling his Pro Day and likely hurt his draft stock. His speed was likely to be subpar as it is, but his excellent route running was what helped him become one of the top producing receivers in the country.
Since 2018, Johnson has produced the third-best Pro Football Focus receiving grade from the slot behind CeeDee Lamb and Jaylen Waddle of Alabama. He also graded extremely well from the outside, but played the majority of his snaps from the slot and to start his career, he will have opportunities in Tampa Bay to play both in the slot and outside.
Contested-catch warrior who plays the game like a big brother imposing his will on his younger brothers on the playground. Johnson’s lack of speed and explosiveness make it hard to create clean catch windows unless he’s working against zone. However, he’s an absolute rebound champ, using instincts, timing and an impressive knowledge of body control to keep defenders away from the football and make it his own. His production speaks directly to his ball skills and competitiveness, but physical limitations might pigeon-hole him into a role as a zone-beating possession slot with red-zone talent. — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
Fantasy football impact
Landing in Tampa Bay is a good place for Johnson even with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans in front of him. Bruce Arians will always throw the ball and give multiple receivers snaps in his offense. He has a shot at meaningful snaps his rookie year but also a great place to get up to speed with the NFL with Tom Brady, Arians and two great receivers ahead of him.