Fans Roast Steelers WR Diontae Johnson Over ‘Great’ Comments


Diontae Johnson has had a disappointing season, to say the least. While he’s not experienced league-leading double-digit drops from his sophomore season, he’s not catching them either.

So, for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ supposed No. 1 receiver to say he’s having a “great season,” of course he will get roasted. Some fans have even dubbed Johnson “Diontae Dropson.”

And that was before his two critical drops versus the Atlanta Falcons on December 4.

“I’ve come to the fact that I’m having a great year, to me,” Johnson said in a December 2 press conference.

Johnson isn’t stupid. He knows he’s not putting up the numbers he wants or expects of him. But he’s growing differently now.

“Obviously my stats aren’t showing it, but (I’m) just trying to be a better leader. Just not trying to play for myself, trying to be a team player at the end of the day because my opportunity is going to come, my play is going to come. I’m not getting the ball like I want to right now. Listen, I’m not worried about my stats right now.”

93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi posted the tweet below to get Steelers fans all riled up: “Diontae Johnson: ‘I’m having a great year.’ He’s 106th in yards per catch. He hasn’t scored a touchdown in 2022. He’s making $18 million. I don’t care if he’s the best teammate and nicest guy on planet Earth. That ain’t great.”

And while Johnson’s comments were taken out of context in Fillipponi’s tweet, it didn’t stop fans from blasting the fourth-year receiver.

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Many responses brought up Johnson’s contract, but the fact is he’s in the last year of his rookie deal and making a whopping $1.5 million. The contract he signed in July was an extension, which kicks in next season.


Diontae Johnson’s 2022 Drop Stats

Is Diontae Johnson worthy of all the slack? Despite all of the razzing from Steelers fans, Johnson has only had an estimated five drops (depending on the stats site), according to Pro Football Reference. On the season, Johnson has 61 receptions on 105 targets and a 58.1 catch percentage. Five drops rank him fifth with 17 fellow receivers. San Francisco 49ers‘ Deebo Samuel currently leads the league with nine.

Of course, the lack of production can’t all be on Johnson. It can’t be on Kenny Pickett nor Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Nevertheless, it’s there. There are throws that Pickett could put more on the money, but there have also been catches that Johnson absolutely should make.

Drops are also subjective, whether one deems the ball “catchable” or not (therefore, not an official stat). Johnson isn’t often going to make jaw-dropping catches like his teammate George Pickens (though he made a spectacular snag in Week 1 versus the Bengals). But if it hits the hands or the “breadbasket,” there’s no reason why he shouldn’t come down with it. That’s the frustrating part.

As we’ve heard repeatedly, Johnson is being paid like a No. 1 receiver. Now he just needs to play like one.

Perhaps Johnson should revert to his process for cleaning up drops in 2021. He incorporated a tennis ball machine during his practice routine and tennis ball drills pregame.

And it helped. Johnson went from 15 drops in 2020 to just three in 2021. Those numbers went along with a stat line of 923 yards and seven touchdowns. That kind of production earned him the label one of “NFL’s best and most productive” from Pro Football Focus (among other outlets).


But that, of course, was with a different quarterback. Catching passes from the veteran Ben Roethlisberger versus a rookie in Kenny Pickett is a whole other ballgame. The two need to develop chemistry — not a quick or easy task when the quarterback was thrown to the fire four weeks in.

Until that happens and a light goes on for Johnson, he’s at least taken on a leadership role, which was displayed during the Indianapolis Colts game.

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