Let's pump the brakes on bashing Diontae Johnson so much. The guy even admitted all of the bashing and name-calling hurt him mentally during the 2020 season. Be patient with Diontae Johnson he is only going into his third year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. We haven't even scratched the surface with the talent Johnson possesses.
Johnson says he saw progress in every aspect of his game in 2020. It's not like the guy is walking around with a big chest calling himself Ronald Ocean or becoming a headache in the locker room. Yes, he can have an issue with holding onto the football, but that is fixable with coaching. The mental aspect is also fixable because he can just shut out the noise and get back to playing football. Which he did after he was benched by Mike Tomlin in 2020.
Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target in 2020 was Dionate Johnson with 139 targets. That just says what he is capable of doing on the football field. A Two-Time Super Bowl Champion won't throw you the football if he isn't confident in you. Johnson had 88 receptions, for 924 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns. Although JuJu had more receptions with fewer targets Johnson had more receiving yards. Why? because Johnson is very good at getting yards after the catch. In fact, he is elite in finding extra yardage.
Diontae showed how much he matured from year 1 to year 2 in 2020 as well. He knew he had a problem catching the football and eventually was benched by Mike Tomlin. He took that benching like a man and overcame it the rest of the way toward the end of the season.
Johnson on being benched by Mike Tomlin: "By Coach Tomlin pulling me out of the game, doing it like he did it, once he did that, I knew I had to tighten up and catch the ball," said Johnson. "Point blank period. If nothing else I have to catch the ball. I had to get my mind right. I didn't throw a temper tantrum or anything, that isn't how you handle certain situations. Everyone handles things their own way. No matter what it is, someone is going to critique you. You just add it to the fire. You just have to shut out the noise. Like Coach Darryl Drake used to tell us, you just shut out the noise. You just have to focus on yourself and be you. Don't overthink everything, just be you. When you do that and shut out the noise, you will be fine." If Ben Roethlisberger and Diontae Johnson both stay healthy in 2021 I bet Dionate will break 1,000 receiving yards. Johnson has to get better with dropping the football this offseason. He had 16 dropped passes in 2020. Fourteen of those passes were within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Rookie Jerry Jeudy had fourteen passes dropped in 2020 as well. He was the 15th pick in the 2020 draft last season! In 2019 during Diontae's rookie season he started all 16 games, led all rookies in receptions (59), and led the punt return average at 12.4 yards.
In his second year with the Steelers, he almost surpassed 1,000 receiving yards. So you can see the progression in Diontae Johnson's game. Just give him more time to develop and polish his skills. It will pay off in the long run and he will become a stud in Pittsburgh.