2019 NFL Draft Profile: Fresno State WR Keesean Johnson
Johnson leaves the Bulldogs as an all-time great, but how will his reliability translate to the NFL level?
Fresno State’s all-time leading pass-catcher is ready for a new challenge.
Few players have experiences the highs and lows of college football like Keesean Johnson. As a Fresno State football player during the program’s worst season and, arguably, its best season ever, his steady production as a four-year contributor was the great constant, cementing him in the conversation as one of the program’s best players ever.
His reputation as a steady, if not flashy, athlete is certain to be an enticing calling card when the NFL Draft begins this week, but how exactly does he stack up in a receiver-rich class?
Measurables (via Mockdraftable)
Despite average athleticism, one word that comes up repeatedly in evaluations of Keesean Johnson is “smooth”. That description speaks to his abilities as an above-average route runner who could, depending on the offensive system, find a role either inside or outside at the next level. He’s also received a great deal of attention for his hands, enough so that Brad Kelly of The Draft Network devoted an entire article to them back in February.
One thing that may limit Johnson’s eventual upside is that he possesses only adequate speed. According to Robert Kuwada of the Fresno Bee, he did improve his 40-yard dash time from 4.6 to the mid-4.5’s at Fresno State’s Pro Day back in March, but no one will confuse him with blazers like D.K. Metcalf or Andy Isabella.
There are also some lingering questions about how his usage patterns at Fresno State will translate. The reliance on screens was more pronounced in Tim DeRuyter’s offense than in Jeff Tedford’s, but Lance Zierlein of NFL.com also noted that Johnson saw a lot of work on comeback routes, too.
Perhaps more so than many other wide receivers in this year’s draft, Johnson represents the “what you see is what you get’ mold. He may not have the high ceiling of a Metcalf or an N’Keal Harry, but his skill set has led many to conclude that he also projects to have a pretty high floor. It’ll be easy for teams to slot Johnson in as a possession-type receiver, if not necessarily as a star, which means that he should hear his name called on Day Three.