Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo
(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: n/a
Vertical: 32.5” (16th)
Broad: 122” (62nd)
3-cone: 7.12 seconds (17th)
20-yard shuttle: n/a
Johnson headed to Butler Community College out of high school, tallying a 21-559-5 line in 2014. Then it was off to Iowa Western Community College, where he hauled in 19 balls for 434 yards and 2 scores in his lone season. Johnson finally landed in Buffalo in 2016 but was redshirted that year.
He exploded in 2017, setting a Buffalo record with 14 receiving scores and registering the 2nd most receiving yards in school history. Johnson ranked 3rd nation-wide in TDs, 6th in yards and 18th in catches. He posted 140+ yards in 6 different games — most in the country. His market shares: 32.5% of the catches, 38.9% of the yards and 58.3% of the TDs.
Johnson dealt with hamstring, leg and arm injuries this past season, missing 1 game and parts of a few more. Both his raw production and market shares dipped from 2017. Omitting the game he missed, Johnson accounted for 27.1% of UB’s receptions, 35.2% of the yards and 42.3% of the TDs. Still, those marks rank 17th, 10th and 10th among the 48 WRs invited to this year’s Combine.
Johnson ranked among the top 34 nationally in catches, yards and TDs. His 17.7 yards per catch was good for 5th among players with 50+ receptions. And his 3.28 yards per route run ranked 7th among all draft-eligible WRs, per Pro Football Focus.
Courtesy of @WhatsOnDraftNFL
Games watched - Western Michigan (2017), Bowling Green (2017), Temple, Northern Illinois, Troy
Johnson made a living winning contested catches for Buffalo. He’s comfortable in tight quarters, using his body to shield defenders from the ball. He creates late separation (sometimes with subtle push offs). And he possesses a strong pair of mitts. Johnson dropped just 5.0% of his catchable targets last year, according to Pro Football Focus.
After the catch, Johnson gets upfield quickly, runs with good vision and isn’t afraid to break a tackle.
Johnson has experience lining up both outside and in the slot and ran a relatively diverse route tree for UB. But he often struggles to break free from coverage. He’s not going to run by many DBs and can be sluggish getting into and out of his breaks.
Johnson had 2 big seasons at Buffalo and boasts some of the best market-share numbers in this year’s WR class. But that production needs to be put into context. It came against lower-level competition in the MAC. And it came at an advanced age. Johnson played the 2017 season at 22 and last year at 23.
So it’s fair to wonder if he’ll be able to out-muscle his opponents at the next level like he did in college. Johnson didn’t test particularly well at the Combine, registering sub-20th percentile marks in the vertical and 3-cone.
He has the feel of a guy who winds up being a nice college player who just doesn’t have the tools to make a significant impact in the NFL.