In every single draft class, there are always one or two players drafted outside the first two rounds who far exceed expectations as a rookie. These guys end up being crowned draft steals and cement themselves among the top players overall from their respective classes. Recent examples include George Kittle (146th overall) and Eddie Jackson in 2017 (112th overall), Mark Andrews in 2018 (86th overall) and Terry McLaurin in 2019 (76th overall).
In this year’s draft class, there’s one prospect in particular who has all the makings of a draft steal: Minnesota wide receiver Tyler Johnson.
Johnson has been one of college football’s best wideouts over the last two years, posting a two-year PFF receiving grade that is by far the best and a yards per route run total (3.50) that makes him the most productive in that stretch (second is CeeDee Lamb at 3.42). In this year’s historic wide receiver class, Johnson rings in as WR11 and the 49th-best prospect overall. PFF's lead draft analyst Mike Renner compared him to Davante Adams.
Compared to other scouts and experts in the media, PFF is very high on Johnson. Almost every other big board you’ll see views Tyler Johnson as a third-round pick at best, with a majority calling him a Day 3 product. One prominent draft expert went as far as saying he’s not much more than a sixth- or seventh-round pick.
So, why is everyone bearish on Tyler Johnson and hesitant to call him a second-round pick like PFF?