Diontae Johnson could be one of the Steelers wide receivers looking to benefit from Matt Canada's new offensive scheme heading into the 2021 season. We could finally see the Steeler's talented wide receivers being used in a way they should have been several years ago although Diontae Johnson has still been productive by managing to put up 923 receiving yards in 2020 with a horrible offensive coordinator.
Sam Monson on Pro Football Focus has been raving about Diontate Johnson's ability to get open on the football field: "Johnson gets open as well as any receiver in the NFL, which is a great starting point for success. Over his first two seasons in the league, he has been charted as open on 46% and 48% of his targets that is 6-8 percentage points higher than the league average. If Ben Roethlisberger can improve on an unconvincing 2020 season and give the Steelers passing game some more teeth, Johnson will be open and looking for targets."
Monson believes Diontae Johnson is too good of a receiver not to have a breakout season soon. He thinks Johnson has already been productive in Pittsburgh and it looked like he was the Steeler's best wide receiver in 2020, but consistency has been an issue for many of the Steelers wide receivers. It also could have been the offensive scheme with Randy Fichtner that held back the talented wide receivers in Pittsburgh too.
Johnson had issues catching the football in 2020 and acknowledged those issues this offseason. He said, “I’m a receiver and I get paid to catch the ball, so there’s no excuse behind drops, It’s all tied down to focus. If a bad play happens, you have to move on from it. That’s what I’ve been dealing with.”
Grip strength and eye-hand coordination have been one of the biggest drills Johnson has been working on during the 2021 offseason. Johnson says he has been catching off of a tennis ball machine which makes him really focus on the ball. Having a tennis ball coming at you off of a machine allows you to focus on a smaller ball than a football so when it comes time to catch the football there should be no issues.
Johnson was eighth in the league with 144 targets in 2020 according to Bleacher Report. So if he can manage to keep the drops low then many analysts believe he could become a top-10 wide receiver as long as he keeps his catch percentage high in 2020. This should be a big year for Diontate Johnson and it will be very interesting to see how creative Matt Canada can get with the Steelers wide receivers going forward.