While the information age has made it increasingly tougher to find "sleepers" in the NFL Draft, some players will always slip through the cracks. Currently, there is a senior wide receiver prospect that is flying under the radar, and I'm here to end that. His name is KeeSean Johnson.
No, not that Keyshawn Johnson. It's K - E - E - S - E - A - N.
The Fresno State product has been eating this season, accumulating 54 receptions, 761 yards and 6 touchdowns through 8 games. Coming off the heels of a 1,000 yard season, it's hard to figure out why Johnson isn't getting more love.
Johnson hails from the same high school as former Fresno State Bulldog and current Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. Despite redshirting as a freshman, Johnson has progressed into a draftable talent. At 6-foot-2 and 199 pounds, he has solid size for the next level.
What sticks out about Johnson's film is that he catches everything. I mean, everything. His natural hands are a weapon at the catchpoint, as he beautifully tracks the ball and gets his mitts on it. Johnson has even shown the ability to make one-handed receptions look elementary if a defensive back has one of his arms hooked.
While Johnson doesn't have elite explosiveness or long speed, his athleticism is more than passable. Additionally, he has excellent body control that generally allows him to make plays at the catchpoint. He positions his body well and does a good job of shielding defensive backs away from the ball. Paired with his natural hands, Johnson is open even when he is covered.
Johnson is a smooth operator with flexibility as a route runner. He does an excellent job of bending and torquing his upper body to accelerate his breaks. The "something extra" in his routes is how he uses his hands to avoid contact from defensive backs, and he will separate at the top of the route with a little physicality when necessary. Johnson's route running prowess and body control adds to his potential versatility in for an NFL offense.
The final and possibly most impressive portion of Johnson's game is the motor and intensity he plays with. Relentless with the ball in his hands, Johnson's balance and toughness makes him a nightmare for defensive backs to tackle. While not the most elusive or slippery runner, he will still pick up yards after the catch as he powers through tackles. Few wide receiver prospects consistently play with the level of fight Johnson has.
Johnson will likely be projected in the later portions of the NFL Draft, but don't be surprised when I am higher on him than most. While he isn't the alpha athlete at the position, Johnson can hurt defenses in a variety of different ways. NFL teams will likely value his potential as a possession receiver who constantly gets open, as well as appreciate the fire he plays with. Athletic testing could be a massive boost to Johnson's draft stock, but the tape he has put together this season should undoubtedly be warranting more buzz.