With Michael Thomas (ankle/hamstring) and Emanuel Sanders (COVID-19 list) both inactive for Sunday’s divisional matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers, the Saints promoted wide receiver Juwan Johnson to their active roster. At 6’4’’ 230 lb., the jury is still out as to whether or not the undrafted rookie has the quickness or route running ability necessary to compete as a wide receiver at the NFL level. Afterall, Johnson’s physical profile closer resembles that of an NFL tight end rather than a wide receiver. Yet Johnson now joins legendary coach Sean Payton’s offensive system, one that has helped turn similar raw physical talents at the wide receiver position like Marques Colston and Michael Thomas into NFL superstars. Could Johnson be the next Saints wide out on the road to superstardom?

His flair for the dramatic certainly has superstar written all over it. Although relatively hampered by injuries throughout his college career, Johnson consistently performed his best when the stakes were the highest, coming through time and again in the clutch for both of his alma maters. Johnson’s first career college touchdown came in the form of a game-winning grab as time expired to give Penn State the win over Iowa. Further, as a junior for Penn State, Johnson made a spectacular 31-yard one handed catch against then #4 ranked team in the nation, Ohio State. Then, after transferring to Oregon as a graduate student in 2019, he became the first Oregon player to record three-receiving touchdowns in the same game since 2015 when he torched the USC trojans for 7 receptions and 106 receiving yards. He would also go on to seal a Rose Bowl win for the Oregon ducks over the no. 8 ranked Wisconsin badgers that season, with a 28-yard reception on the game’s final drive which allowed Oregon to run the clock to zeros.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Juwan Johnson (83) runs through drills during practice at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, pool)

“For me, when they said you’re in, it was just time for me to flip that switch and keep doing what I’ve been doing. I was ready” -Juwan Johnson

Needless to say, Johnson has been given the chance to start to cement himself as a force at the wide receiver position in the NFL. Though he still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of his technical ability as a receiver, Johnson boasts the unique combination of physical ability and dramatic flair that has proven to be extremely successful at the NFL level. All he has to do is go out there and seize the moment.


Posted By Oliver Wiener 10/28/2020


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