Collin Johnson Being Undervalued? (2020 NFL Draft)
Collin Johnson, Texas
Weight: 222 pounds
40-yard dash: N/A
Vertical Jump: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
3-Cone Drill: N/A
He was expected to come out of college last year and be a first- or second-round pick in the eyes of many talent evaluators. Instead, he went back to school and hurt his draft stock. He’s somewhat overlooked in this crowded class of talented wide receivers, but should he be? It’s not often you find a 6-foot-6 wide receiver with his agility. He didn’t run at the NFL Combine due to a hip flexor injury that he suffered in pre-Combine workouts.
Johnson was ascending over his first few years at Texas, racking up 68 receptions for 985 yards and seven touchdowns in his junior season. He returned for his senior season where he got hurt, played just seven games, and recorded 38 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns. He did record six-plus receptions in 14-of-33 games from his sophomore year until senior year, highlighting extreme trust in him as a weapon.
Here’s my detailed scouting report on Collin Johnson (ratings out of five stars):
You aren’t going to want a receiver any bigger than Johnson. In fact, you might want to take some height off, as most receivers his size deal with injuries due to being too lanky. That’s the thing, though. Johnson isn’t lanky. He’s built pretty well for a guy who towers over defenders and has some thickness to him. He doesn’t appear to have clunky movements, either, so you can say his size is somewhat ideal. He played primarily on the perimeter for Texas but did move into the slot at times, though he won’t be there much in the NFL.
Route Running/Ability to Separate
He’s a long strider, which typically means that he’s not going to be the most precise route-runner. He’s constantly attempting to studder step and juke his way past cornerbacks off the line of scrimmage, but given his size, he should just run right through them. He appears to run a full route tree, as he’s seen all over the field, in both a possession-style role, as well as a deep role. He can make a defender look silly with a double move, which isn’t something all receivers with his size are able to do. He’s plenty capable as a route-runner, and in fact, I think it’s a plus to his game.
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
He doesn’t have top-end speed or crazy acceleration, though his burst out of the hole isn’t bad, either. If he’s given a cushion, he’s not going to eat it up immediately, but does have enough spring in his step to get by a defender in press coverage. When you take his size into consideration, his speed should be considered slightly above average.
He didn’t see very many goal-line tosses, which makes you wonder if he’s not the greatest in contested catch situations. From what I saw, it has more to do with his lack of physicality than it does his ability. He has great length to him with a big catch radius, should be easy to target in one-on-one situations (more on that later). He’ll allow the ball to come into his body and double-catch it at times, though his hands aren’t a major detriment to his game, but they’re also not a plus.
He can do a better job helping out his quarterback by coming back to the football, as he allows the defender to play the ball just as much as he does. I would really like to see him play with more of a bully mentality given his size, but he’s too passive right now. His ball-tracking is solid in terms of getting where he needs to be and he adjusts to the ball well, though he needs to learn to create room with his body. Too many times was a defender able to get inside his catch radius. He plays as if he’s the only one on the field and his only job is to catch the ball. This is an area of his game that needs improvement for him to blossom.
After the Catch
He’s not someone who’ll create many yards after the catch, as he’s not physical enough, and he doesn’t have the burst to get a good angle on secondary defenders. This comes back to not playing up to his size, as he should be able to toss cornerbacks off him.
Projected Draft Spot
Someone needs to tap Collin Johnson on the shoulder and remind him he’s 6-foot-6 and 222 pounds, and that he should start playing like it. If he does, the ceiling is there. There are traits to his game that NFL teams will likely fall in love with and you cannot teach size. Because of that, Johnson isn’t likely to fall past the fourth-round. He’s a bigger and more pro-ready receiver than JJ Arcega-Whiteside was at this time last year, and he went inside the second-round, though this is a much deeper wide receiver class.
There aren’t many players as big as Johnson in the NFL, but when comparing him to those in the league, you obviously need to find a big-bodied receiver. While there are some little intricacies that aren’t up to par with most successful NFL players just yet, Johnson reminds me a bit of Devin Funchess. He’s not a great receiver that’ll raise the play of everyone around him, but if he gets targets, he can produce. They’re both fast enough to make it work despite lackluster 40 speeds, both move fluidly for their size, and provide their quarterback with a big target to throw to. Johnson has a ceiling that’s better than where he’ll be drafted.
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