2019 NFL Draft Prospect – Anthony Johnson, WR Buffalo

Levi Chappell

Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Anthony Johnson, WR of Buffalo. You can also check out all of our NFL Draft Prospect articles here. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!

As I watched Tony Finau play well at the Masters last weekend, I was reminded of his ancestry and the athleticism that runs through that family. Finau’s cousins are Jabari Parker (Washington Wizards forward), Haloti Ngata (former defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens and others), and Sione Po’uha (former DT for the New York Jets). Rarely can multiple families churn out professional athlete after professional athlete.

If you like family bloodlines that are rich with athleticism and talent, Anthony Johnson may be your guy from this year’s NFL Draft class. He is the cousin of NFL players Jadeveon Clowney and Johnathan Joseph, both of the Houston Texans. He may be known as Clowney’s cousin right now, but he is making a name for himself among NFL scouts.

[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]

The Stats

Johnson was not a highly touted recruit coming out of college, so he started playing his college ball at the JUCO level. He started as a freshman at Butler Community College in 2014 (21-559-5) and then transferred to Iowa Western Community College in 2015 (19-434-2) but struggled to find his place.

word image 52

Statistics from sports-reference.com.

After his sophomore year, he transferred again, this time to Buffalo. He redshirted his first year at UB, but took no time making an impact when he came back to the field as a redshirt junior. He was a first-team All-MAC selection and ranked second in the nation with 113 receiving yards per game (17.8 yards per catch). He caught 76 balls that year for 1,356 yards which was a school record. He also scored an impressive 14 TDs -also a school record – and did all of this while only playing in 12 games.

He could have bounced to the NFL after the 2017 season, but wanted to be the first individual from his family to graduate from college, so decided to stick around for his senior season. He had another solid year in 2018 and lead his team in catches, yardage, and touchdowns (57-1,011-11) again. He was selected first team ALL-MAC in 2018.

The Film

I love watching tape on all these players while trying to assess what their strengths and weaknesses are. With Johnson, I really like his really strong hands. He is able to pluck the ball out of the air, and the ball doesn’t move once it is in his hands.

He also locates the ball really early on routes, and tracks the ball all the way to the catch. He can extend out with his arms and make some tough catches all while using his big frame well against corners and safeties.

Johnson was an all-state basketball player which is evident when you watch him go up for 50-50 balls. He boxes out defenders and has no problem making heavily-contested catches.

One weakness that will need to be addressed at the next level is that he loses focus of where he is at on the field at times. He was able to beat a lot of defenders on vertical routes, but many times would push himself towards the sidelines or even out of bounds.

He also struggled with tight man coverage and had a hard time getting into his routes once he was disrupted initially. This could be due to his below-average athleticism and quickness.

The Measurables

When you look at Johnson’s spider chart courtesy of Mock Draftable, you notice quite a few things about his profile. The first is that Johnson is a strong and bigger-framed receiver and uses that frame well, but at the same time lacks athleticism and quickness. At 6’2” 210 lbs, he repped 225 lbs 18 times on the bench press. He projects as more of a physical receiver than one who will blow by you.

His vertical and cone drills leave quite a bit to be desired, and he did not participate in the 40-yard dash because of a sore ankle. Buffalo hosted their pro day on March 13th where Johnson did indeed run a 40-yard dash. Most scouts pegged him as a “4.6 guy”, but Johnson came out and ran unofficial times of 4.47 and 4.52. Both of those times will help his draft stock, and I would expect Johnson to be drafted anywhere from rounds three-five.

Among draft-eligible receivers, only Marquise Brown topped Anthony Johnson’s 3.48 mark in yards per route run since 2017. Another display of how deep the 2019 WR draft class is.

Dynasty Value

According to DLF’s April 2019 Rookie Dynasty ADP, Johnson is being taken as the 59th rookie overall (WR27), which seems pretty darn low for a receiver that has had rumors of being selected as high as the third round of the NFL draft. That is good value for someone with good college production, solid size, and really strong hands. If I had any sort of fourth-round pick, I would feel more than comfortable drafting Johnson (barring a terrible landing spot).


Johnson is a big, physical wide receiver with incredible hands. He also comes from a bloodline that has produced NFL stars before.

His lack of athleticism and ability to separate will be something that scouts will have to look over, discuss, and make a decision on. If a team thinks that Johnson could be a fit in their system and contribute to the team, I could see him being selected around the fourth round.

If you have a fourth-round rookie pick and want to draft a WR who can grow and contribute to a team, Johnson is not a bad choice… especially if a team spends a third or fourth round draft pick on him.

Follow me on Twitter @LeviChappell.


levi chappell