Minnesota Golden Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson is one of the top wideouts in the 2020 NFL Draft and the Detroit Lions would be smart to draft him. Johnson had a monster junior season with the Gophers, catching 78 passes for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns. There were many who believed he would leave for the NFL, but he decided to come back for one more season.
This season was a season he was named All-Big Ten first-team after another impressive season. During the regular season, he caught 74 passes for 1,114 yards and 11 touchdowns. He and Rashod Bateman could go down as the greatest wide receivers in Gophers history.
The Draft Network’s Jonah Tuls gave the following review of Johnson’s game:
“I think it all boils down to Tyler Johnson not being as dynamic or flashy as some of the top guys in this class like [Alabama’s] Jerry Jeudy [and] Henry Ruggs, [Oklahoma’s] CeeDee Lamb, etc,” Tuls said. “Other than Jeudy, you can argue Johnson is the best pure route runner in this class, whether playing on the outside or in the slot. But Johnson doesn’t get the national recognition that others receive in this 2020 crop of wide receiver prospects. While other players’ success are centered around a couple plays in the highlight reel, Tyler Johnson is quietly putting up another year of consistent, elite tape.”
He did nothing to hurt his draft stock this season, but with the loaded draft class, he might actually get drafted lower than he would have after his junior year if he would have left for the draft.
That could be good news for the Lions though, who might be able to get him a round or two later than they would have last year.
Since Calvin Johnson decided to hang up the cleats, the team has been missing a red zone target, and Tyler Johnson could fill right in. One of Johnson’s best assets is beating wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and going to get the ball, and the tweet below is a perfect example.
Don't sleep on @GopherFootball WR Tyler Johnson.
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) August 14, 2019
Johnson’s one big knock is dropping the football, but most of those have been from a lack of concentration and he has improved on it as a senior.
The Lions have Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones outside already and adding Johnson would give Matthew Stafford another elite option. The Lions have a lot of holes they need to fill with this draft, but if they were smart they would draft Johnson.