clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

KeeSean Johnson’s impact and expectations for the Arizona Cardinals

New, comments
NFL: Preseason-Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When the Arizona Cardinals took their third wide receiver in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft most people scratched their head.

Why would a team who spent a second and a fourth round pick in the same draft take a wide receiver in the sixth?

Why would a team draft a 4.6 receiver after taking two athletic freaks in the same draft?

Well, with training camp coming to a close it is safe to say that the Cardinals made the right decision to draft KeeSean Johnson as he primed to be the third wide receiver in Arizona in 2019.

As the third receiver what should the expectations be? What about for a receiver drafted in the sixth round?

I went through the history of the league, post-merger so since 1970 and looked at what players in their rookie years drafted in the fifth round or later have done as rookies.

The best single season was from Marques Colston of the New Orleans Saints. As a seventh round rookie Colston had 70 catches for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns. That lead the Saints in yards and touchdowns.

KeeSean won’t do that sans injuries to the top two.

From there, there have only been 32 players in the NFL since 1970 that were drafted in the fifth round or later to have 30 or more catches in a season.

It is not something that happens very often.

However, we have seen it be a more regular occurrence, as eight active players, or 25% of the players that have pulled off this feat, are still currently in the NFL.

High end prospects who have turned into true stars like Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs both had more than 50 catches as rookies.

Solid contributors like Tajae Sharpe and Trent Taylor had more than 40 catches as rookies.

Julian Edelman had 37 catches.

Kenny Stills 32.

That’s really the range that a consistent KeeSean Johnson could fall in. Stills put up over 600 yards, so maybe that is not Johnson.

However two seasons stick out as a path KeeSean could follow.

Sharpe had 41 catches for 522 yards as a rookie. Taylor had 43 catches for 430 yards as a rookie.

If the Cardinals can get numbers like that, from their third wide receiver, who is a sixth round pick, it’ll be a great pick up.

It will be a positive for the team.

It also sets realistic expectations for a sixth round rookie.