PRO 2024 Rookie Spotlight: Cornelius Johnson, WR Michigan

Rookie Spotlight: Cornelius Johnson, Michigan
Height: 6-2
Weight: 213
Hands: 8 ½”
Arm: 31 ⅜”
40 yard dash: 4.58 (projected)
2024 Age: 24
NFL Comparison: Cedric Tillman
Breakout Age: 21

Offensive Market Share Metrics (Final Season)

Receptions: 18%
Receiving Yards: 19%
Receiving TDs: 4%
Total Production Percentage: 14%

As a high school prospect: Class of 2019; 4-star

Prototypical X-receiver build
Fast for his size
Starts off the line quickly
Dangerous deep threat
Contested catch specialist
Displays excellent body control
“Throw it up and he’ll get it” kind of range
Willing and effective blocker

Lack of consistent production
Stiffer through the hips
Concentration drops
Lets the ball into his body too often
Lacks patience getting open in zones
Could use more bulk
Will be 24 in November
Small hands

Scouting Notes:
Johnson, woefully underutilized in Michigan’s run-heavy attack, arguably had his best season in 2022, when he tallied 462 yards and 6 TDs on 29 catches. He had more yardage (620 yards) in 2021, but he only scored 3 times that season. As a 5th year senior, Johnson had 42 catches for 567 yards but only 1 TD. As uneven as his production was, Johnson displays mostly positive characteristics as a pass-catcher. His build is tall and lanky, he’ll probably need to add some bulk, but he plays with much vigor and power. He’s quick off the line getting into his routes, and he has excellent body control for a bigger receiver. Sometimes his motor gets the best of him, as he has trouble settling into zones, but it certainly helps him in contested catch situations. Because of his range, Johnson is a QB’s best friend, the kind of player you can throw it up to and depend that he’ll come down with it. He’s also not afraid to go into traffic to make the catch. Johnson’s hands are reliable enough, but his hands are small for his body at 9”, and he makes concentration drops from time to time. He also lets too many balls into his body. After the catch, Johnson is fairly agile, and can make defenders miss, but he can be caught from behind as his long speed is not elite. As a blocker, Johnson is willing and effective, a trait that can take him far at the next level, though it may not translate to fantasy production.

Fantasy Outlook:
Johnson will be old for a rookie, turning 24 in November, but that shouldn’t be the biggest knock against him in the draft process. His lack of consistent production in college will be the biggest concern, as he really had a big college season statistically. Blame it on scheme, but Johnson projects to be more role player than star at this point – He only had 3 catches for 25 yards in the title game against Washington. He’s never truly been in a position to succeed though, so perhaps he just needs the opportunity to thrive. That being said, I see Johnson as a late round pick who can develop into a role player on the right team.

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