Arizona Cardinals 2019 NFL Draft: Who is KeeSean Johnson?
With the No. 174 overall pick, the Arizona Cardinals continue to add to their wide receiver grouping with the addition of KeeSean Johnson.
For the first time in the modern era, the Arizona Cardinals selected a wide receiver three times after drafting a quarterback No. 1 overall. Former Fresno State Bulldog KeeSean Johnson joins Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler in a much improved wide receiver room.
As Fresno State’s all-time leader in receptions (275) and yards (3,463), Johnson could best be described as reliable and seasoned. In 2018 alone, he had 95 receptions for 1,340 yards and eight touchdowns. Though he breaks the Cardinals draft trend of field-stretching via speed, Johnson projects as an excellent fit in Kingsbury’s Air Raid and a compliment to Kyler Murray’s game.
Measuring in at 6-foot-1 and 201-pounds, Johnson is a well-built prospect. His combine results were average; results include 4.60 second 40-yard-dash, 30-inch vertical, 117-inch broad jump, 7.28 second three-cone drill. But, his game doesn’t rely on his athleticism.
Here is what our colleague Cody Potanko (who called this pick) had to say about the receiver in his player profile;
"Johnson is a possession receiver that will thrive when asked to run routes including the comeback route and hitch. He can move the sticks with proper body positioning, and with his naturally strong hands, he often pulls most of, if not all of the balls that hit his hands. Seriously, Johnson has some of the most natural hands in this draft class.Johnson’s route running ability is very crisp. He has no additional stutter steps or fancy hip movements, but it should be classified as extremely technical. Like a large portion of young receivers before him, he will struggle at against press coverage, but receivers coach David Raih should be able to improve on that.Johnson is also a solid run-blocker as a receiver — a less flashy but necessary trait. He uses his excellent frame, body positioning, and ‘never say die’ attitude to carve lanes for ball carriers behind him."
Pro Football Focus graded Johnson as one of the better receivers in the class. He ranked in the top-11 in yards per route run (3.05), deep pass receptions (15), and deep pass yards (541), he also received an 83.9 receiving grade and 67.6 blocking grade.
Although Johnson is thought of as a typical, big-bodied outside receiver, he’s versatile and will offer yard after the catch ability to Kingsbury’s offense; a highly coveted trait. He’s shifty and unrelenting, which translated to his 1,425 YAC during his college tenure, per PFF.
Despite having a much-improved receiver depth chart, Johnson should find a way to produce immediately for the Cardinals. Though he’s not a freak athlete, Johnson is experienced, hard-nosed, and technically refined. He’s a high-floor, middle-ceiling, sure-handed receiver (74.2% catch rate in 2018, per PFF) with the ability to play inside or out.
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