The search to find the second wide receiving option next to Cooper Kupp officially intensified for the Los Angeles Rams on May 30 once the franchise brought in Tyler Johnson — during the voluntary practice sessions.
The four-year veteran gets a fresh start with another two-time Vince Lombardi Trophy winning franchise. But, the addition of the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout brings new congestion in the race to become the second option next to Kupp — which reopened once Allen Robinson was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers after he was originally supposed to be the WR2 opposite of the Super Bowl 56 Most Valuable Player.
The Super Bowl 55 winner Johnson is in a room with two more newcomers: Rookie from BYU Puka Nacua through the 2023 NFL Draft, then another previous Super Bowl champ in former Kansas City Chiefs wideout Demarcus Robinson, who signed toward the end of voluntary workouts on June 8.
Will it be Johnson, though, who emerges as the top complimentary receiving target next to Kupp? Especially given his experience over Nacua plus being with the Rams a couple weeks longer than Robinson? Johnson gave this answer to Heavy on Tuesday, June 13 following organized team activities (OTAs) in Thousand Oaks:
“It’s all in God’s hands,” Johnson told one-on-one to Heavy. “I’m just coming out here and looking forward to competing, then taking in everything day-by-day. My goal for myself is just get one percent better each day. I’m excited for that and excited for what’s ahead and I can’t wait.”
Johnson Has Never Been a WR2, But Has Been a WR1
If Johnson were to emerge as WR2, it’ll be his first time working his way towards one of the top two wide receiving options in his young NFL career.
While in Tampa, he settled for a lesser role while at a place that featured the following: four-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans as the veteran leader, fellow 1,000-yard wideout Chris Godwin who came off a 2019 Pro Bowl appearance, Scotty Miller as the speedy slot option, Antonio Brown as a veteran late addition and lastly, bringing tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement. Johnson ended up being no better than the fifth WR option, but still was reliable when Tom Brady and the Bucs needed a first down.
His stays with the Houston Texans and Las Vegas Raiders were on the truncated side, as Johnson only played in two games in 2022…both with the former.
But, he came to the league with leading wide receiving experience in tow. That was during his Minnesota Golden Gopher days.
Johnson went from converted quarterback and the state of Minnesota’s No. 5 overall prospect by 247Sports composite to back-to-back 1,000-yard wideout. And his numbers spiked across his next three seasons following some brief action his freshman season of 2016.
While he may be considered a non-threat to the title of WR1 to Kupp, he has thrived as a WR1 before while facing NFL talent in the Big 10. That can also bode well for the Rams if Kupp goes down like last year.
Johnson Gives Take on WR Room He’s in
It won’t be long before Johnson will run routes in front of fans representing the “Rams House” once the Rams trek to Crawford Field on the UCI campus.
For Johnson, the Rams will now represent the fifth WR room he’ll walk into since his final CFB season of 2019. Outside of Kupp, it’s anticipated to be a younger group featuring five rookies.
Johnson will now represent being one of the older veterans in the room alongside Kupp, Robinson and Van Jefferson as guys who have more than three seasons of experience. Johnson likes the concoction of youth and experience in the room.
“[There are] A lot of guys who have played a lot of football. I feel like this group is definitely going to be one of the good groups,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to go out there and work with them plus compete with them as well.”
But again, the “Rams House” presents his newest, best chance of being involved as one of the top two aerial options — a first as an NFL wideout.