On December 26, the Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Quick Lane Bowl. Although Tyler Johnson hasn’t formally declared for the NFL Draft, he has a very intriguing prospect profile.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound wide receiver will be among the younger WR prospects on draft day.1 Despite the questionable quarterback play at Minnesota, Johnson broke out in his sophomore year. Johnson followed up with a strong junior year, posting a 0.49 dominator rating.
As a freshman, Johnson played in all 13 games and posted a 14/141/1 receiving line. Although the results from his freshman season were not flashy, Johnson accounted for 13 percent of Minnesota’s receiving TDs and posted a dominator rating of 0.10.
As a sophomore, Johnson started the first 10 games of the season before missing the final two with a leg injury. Before being forced to miss the final two games of the season, Johnson was experiencing a breakout season. Although his 35/677/7 receiving line may not look particularly impressive, Johnson accounted for 45 percent of Wisconsin’s receiving yards and 78 percent of Wisconsin’s receiving TDs. In his age-19 season, Johnson posted an eye-popping 0.61 Dominator Rating.
The spike in production during Johnson’s junior year is heartening to see. He improved upon every raw receiving metric, despite dealing with poor QB play.
It’s important to point out that Minnesota’s overall passing was slightly below average in 2018, ranking 51st in Passing S&P+. Quarterbacks Zack Annexstad and Tanner Morgan combined to complete just 55 percent of their throws on the season. Despite operating within a below-average passing offense, Johnson finished 18th in the nation in raw receiving yards.
NFL Draft Prospects
Although it’s currently unknown if Johnson will declare for the NFL, let’s take a look anyway. As mentioned earlier, Johnson would be among the younger WR prospects in this draft class. He boasts a breakout season of age 19.4, a positive indicator of future success. Forty-six percent of the top-100 picks with Johnson’s breakout age have reached the 200-point plateau in at least one of their first three seasons.
Referencing Kevin Cole’s regression tree for evaluating prospects, we can see that Johnson’s career market share of receiving yards is healthy. Johnson accounted for 43 percent of Minnesota’s receiving yards in 2018, and lands in the cohort of past prospects with the highest likelihood of future success. Additionally, Johnson posted a strong yards-per-reception mark in what is hopefully his final collegiate season.
Given Johnson’s strong age-adjusted production profile, it’s safe to say that he could quickly become a RotoViz favorite if he declares. Hopefully Johnson plays well in the Quick Lane Bowl and declares for the NFL Draft.
- If he declares. (back)