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Training Camp Spotlight: KeeSean Johnson

KeeSean Johnson is entering year three in the desert

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

The rookies report to training camp on July 22nd, while the veterans will report on the 27th. This is the first installment of my training camp spotlight series. I am tasked to locate a player to highlight heading into camp.

The Arizona Cardinals offense is vastly improved. Training camp will help build chemistry and offensive cohesion. Every year, there are players that enter camp with a different mindset. Is this the off-season for third-year wideout KeeSean Johnson?

KeeSean Johnson has yet to eclipse 200 yards receiving in a season. An increase in snaps could lend a hand to help improve his production. Johnson was on the field offensively for 19% of the snaps in 2020 and less than 35% in 2019. He did not play much on special teams last season either.

The top four wide receiver spots are believed to be a lock, the order is unknown. Where does that leave Johnson? Fighting for snaps as WR5 with Andy Isabella. Larry Fitzgerald is still a free agent and could return home. Johnson’s best bet to make the roster is flash in training camp on offense.

What does he offer?

KeeSean Johnson is 6 foot 1 and 201 pounds. He is not the most explosive or has the most twitch. He does have the frame and quickness out of his breaks to work the intermediate to short areas of the defense.

In 2020, 127 of his 173 receiving yards came from the slot. Kliff Kingsbury sent Johnson in motion pre-snap as a flat read for Kyler Murray to hit early and generate yards after the catch. As seen in the play below, Johnson has strong hand/eye coordination. He showcases his ability to attack the ball at its highest point and detach vertically from coverage.

KeeSean Johnson could benefit from a strong training camp. Earn Kliff and Kyler’s trust, as a result, his snap count can rise. If Fitzgerald does not return, Johnson could fill the role as the “Big Slot” when his number is called.

In the red zone, his size and frame out of the slot could be beneficial with a bigger catch radius than Rondale Moore and Christian Kirk. Nonetheless, my spotlight is on KeeSean Johnson during this year’s camp practices.