Anthony Johnson, Wide Receiver
School: Buffalo | Conference: Mid-American
Experience: RS Junior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 209 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 3-4
NFL Comparison: Michael Gallup
Advanced stats: Johnson converted 81.3% of third downs into first downs and 67% of receptions into a touchdown in the red zone.
Anthony Johnson had another big year for Buffalo pic.twitter.com/KLxXA3FvPY— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) December 22, 2018
In 2017, Johnson was sixth in the nation with 1,356 receiving yards, and third in TDs with 14. The five players ahead of him in receiving yards a season ago all got selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Johnson considered entering the 2018 draft, but decided to return for his senior season partly because no one in his family had ever graduated from college.
Partially due to an early season leg injury, Johnson saw significantly lower usage in 2018, recording more than 20 fewer receptions for over 400 fewer yards.
In 2012, Johnson survived a car accident in which he was ejected from the back windshield and landed head-first on the pavement. He Escaped with some cuts and a concussion, but he was told by one doctor he would never play sports again.
Johnson went to Butler Community College in Kansas in 2014 and Iowa Western Community College in 2015 before going to Buffalo in the summer of 2016. He sat out his first season at UB as a medical redshirt because of back and hamstring injuries.
He was a Junior College teammate of Michael Gallup (Cowboys) and Chris Carson (Seahawks) at Butler County Community College.
Read more of his backstory HERE.
At the University of Buffalo’s pro day, The Buffalo News timed Johnson’s two 40-yard dash attempts at 4.47 seconds and 4.52 seconds. The consensus among scouts gathered at the finish line was his time was 4.50. His back tightened up after his first 40-yard dash, thus he was not able to run any routes and catch passes.
Johnson did not run the 40 at the combine because of a sore ankle that he had tweaked at the Senior Bowl in January. He had performed all of the other drills in Indianapolis, however, other than the bench press and broad jump, Johnson mostly tested like a below average athlete at Indy.
Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson making his way through traffic. 2367 yards receiving in two seasons for the Bulls pic.twitter.com/nN7aO5yVVf— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 23, 2019
Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson doesn’t have take the top off the defense speed but can still get vertical. Physically reminds me of Michael Gallup. pic.twitter.com/k8vooGOSw1— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
Skilled at tracking the ball on deep passes
Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson hits Anthony Johnson in stride. 45 yards in the air. pic.twitter.com/11ysuMRxZg— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
From the Senior Bowl
You see a lot of this when watching Anthony Johnson. Separation at the line, close. Wins through contact in his route by releasing the CBs hands. Then wins on a tight catch. pic.twitter.com/OtuPe4giNU— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) January 22, 2019
- A relatively nuanced route runner who is physical before and after then catch.
- Routinely wins the release phase by winning the hand battle to garner clean releases.
- Johnson has experience at split-end, flanker, and slot positions.
- Tracks the ball well on deep receptions and presents himself as a vertical receiver.
- NFL Bloodlines - Johnson has three cousins currently playing in the NFL, including Jadeveon Clowney and Jonathan Joseph.
- Thought to be a Day-3 athlete.
- Doesn’t regularly gain significant separation. Defenders are able to mirror him up until the catch point.
- Does not have that extra gear to be a consistent deep threat in the NFL.
What Others Are Saying
Senior Bowl Executive Director, Jim Nagy - “First off, he already has an NFL body. Even more importantly, he plays like he has an NFL body. Tools-wise, one of his best assets is his good functional playing strength. He is strong running thru contact and he is hard for defensive backs to get on the ground without help. Along those same lines, another good predictor of success at the next level is a player’s run-after-catch ability. When it comes to Johsnon’s RAC, one thing that consistently shows up is his feel in the open field. The majority of rookie receivers struggle early on because they cannot beat press coverage but that will not be an issue for Johnson because he has the blend of size, strength, and body quickness to win at the line of scrimmage.”
Cover1.net writes “He routinely releases cleanly off the line of scrimmage because of his hand usage and ability to counter strikes by corners when facing press coverage. His arsenal of chops, swipes, double-handed swipes, arm overs, and forearm wipes fuel his route running and are typically the reason he is able to separate in all phases of a route stem.”
Dane Brugler (from the Senior Bowl): “Anthony Johnson is one of the more polished wideouts in Mobile this week. During one-on-ones, he did a nice job releasing off the line, hiding his intentions until the final moment and breaking away from the corner to work back and give his quarterback a window. His speed is best described as average, but he collects his feet quickly and doesn’t labor out of his breaks.”
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
The Redskins need more dependability at receiver, and should be on the lookout for receivers that can create separation and be a dependable catcher.
Johnson is an all-around receiver with good size, decent speed, and the ability to break tackles and get yards after the catch. From his advanced routes, physicality, and contested catch traits, Anthony Johnson appears to be one of the more NFL ready receivers in this draft class. Overall, Johnson is a decent third-round prospect, but does not have that one elite trait. I consider his a safe top-100 selection, whose upside likely maxes out as an NFL team’s #2 wideout.