PRO 2020 Rookie Spotlight: Collin Johnson, WR Texas

Rookie Spotlight: Collin Johnson, Texas
Height: 6’5 3/4″
Weight: 221 pounds
Hands: 8 3/4″
Arm: 32 7/8″
40 yard dash: 4.60 (unofficial)
NFL Comparison: Auden Tate

Pros
– would be among the tallest receivers in the NFL
– elite catch radius
– good body control for his size
– solid route runner
– excellent footwork
– solid in the run-game with stalk-blocks
– comes from high-end NFL pedigree
– gym rat with crazy work ethic

Cons
– trouble creating separation
– lacks aggression
– lacks athleticism
– has had trouble staying healthy
– never lived up to his potential at Texas
– was never the “alpha” WR in either his junior or senior season at Texas
– tiny hands

2018 Team Market Share Numbers (was injured for most of 2019)

22% team receptions
27% team receiving yards
25% team receiving TDs

Scouting Notes: Just looking at Collin Johnson, it’s easy to see why he’ll probably be a coveted asset come draft time. He’s listed at 6’6’’ with a catch radius that lets few balls get past him. This is especially useful considering he’s not the best jump ball specialist. In fact, according to PFF, he only came down with 5 of his 13 contested catch opportunities in 2019. He’s neither explosive or powerful – a pity considering his size and his insane high school highlights, so Johnson relies on technical route running and nimble footwork to create separation from his defenders. He’s got a comeback and spin move that rarely fails to get him an extra few yards after the catch, though he’s not very exciting with the ball in his hands for the most part. As evidence, just look at the 2018 season for the Longhorns where the offense did not generate one single play over 50 yards. Furthermore, for his final two seasons at Texas, he was outshined by Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Devin Duvernay respectively.

Johnson does tend to struggle in man coverage and can get jammed at the line by physical corners as he doesn’t possess much burst, but if he’s given space he’s often able to sell his release before running his route. He’s also able to sink his hips really low for a big guy. It shows that he works extremely hard at his craft. There were always stories about how Johnson and former Texas QB Shane Buechele would have to ask the coaches for keys to the indoor facility to go practice together before 5AM workouts during the summer. One look at his vlog series on YouTube will tell you all you need to know about how seriously the young man takes football and his overall health. His father, Johnnie Johnson, was a ten-year NFL veteran on the defensive side of the football and his brother, Kirk, was a top-end prospect out of California as well, whose career was completely derailed by injuries. Johnson doesn’t necessarily project as a deep ball receiver – He’s more of a rangy possession guy. He’s also a willing blocker, so he can stay on the field.

Fantasy Outlook: Johnson’s size and technique should be more than enough to land him on an NFL squad. Teams may be wary of his injury history – he missed time with knee and hamstring issues in college, but his floor is too high to pass up. I don’t project him having a lot of boom days on the field, but I see him catching a lot of balls, and his height will make him an instant red zone option. Johnson is a safe pick in dynasty and PPR – depending on where he lands.

From the Texas Athletic Departmentt:

SENIOR (2019)
Played in and started six games … A Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list candidate … Missed Texas’ games against Rice, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Iowa State due to injury … Has caught 35 passes for 497 yards and two touchdowns … Hauled in four passes for 59 yards and a score against Louisiana Tech in the season opener … Made three catches for 49 yards against No. 6 LSU … Returned to the field with six catches for 82 yards against No. 6 Oklahoma in the AT&T Red River Showdown … Tallied 96 receiving yards on eight catches vs. Kansas … Posted his first 100-yard game of the season, and the fifth of his career, when he hauled in seven catches for 101 yards against TCU … Logged another 100-yard game with seven catches for 110 yards and a touchdown in Texas’ win over No. 16 Kansas State … Extended his streak to 33 consecutive games played with at least one reception, the third-longest streak in school history … Has made at least two catches in 39 of the 44 games he has played in his career, the second-most among active Power Five receivers … Pushed his career total to 2,562 receiving yards, making him the seventh Longhorn to hit the 2,500-yard mark.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like all rookie profiles, this one will continue to be updated through the winter and spring with intel as we acquire it. When applicable/available, these profiles will be supplemented with transcriptions of scouting combine interviews with the players following the event, new photos and videos as well as other media we can gather through our offseason pursuits of fantasy dominance. 

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