Steelers Add Former All-MAC WR, a First Cousin of Jadeveon Clowney

Anthony Johnson Buffalo Bulls

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Anthony Johnson of the Buffalo Bulls avoids a tackle from Rodney Williams of the Temple Owls on his way to a touchdown at Lincoln Financial Field on September 8, 2018.

Last Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers had former University of Buffalo wide receiver Anthony Johnson in for a visit. On Monday, the team announced that it has signed Johnson to the team’s practice squad and released wide receiver Amara Darboh.

Darboh is a third-year receiver out of the University of Michigan who was a third-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2017. Johnson (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) is from Rock Hill, South Carolina, the same hometown as Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Anthony Johnson’s NFL Family Tree

More notably, Johnson has two cousins who play for the Tennessee Titans; edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney and cornerback Johnathan Joseph, both of whom are former first-round draft picks. Clowney was selected first overall in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans while Joseph was taken 24th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006.

Another cousin, Jonathan Meeks, was a fifth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2013. Meeks played safety for the Bills for four seasons.

In anticipation of the 2019 Senior Bowl and 2019 NFL Draft, Johnson told the Buffalo News that he face-timed Clowney to get his advice on showcasing his skills for NFL scouts.

“He was encouraging me to just come down and compete and show the world what I’m capable of. No matter who I line up in front of, just attack him and show him I’m the best receiver,” Johnson said.

Anthony Johnson’s Buffalo Bulls Career

At one point Anthony Johnson was projected to be selected in the first three rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, but he did not run at the combine due to a sore ankle and went undrafted.

Never mind that Pro Football Focus had him rated “just outside” its top 15 receivers in the 2019 Draft, this as compared to 2019 third-round pick and current Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (Toledo), who PFF had at No. 11 amongst all draft-eligible receivers.

After going undrafted, Johnson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent. He had five receptions during the 2019 preseason but failed to make the team’s 53-man roster, after which he was added to the practice squad of the Los Angeles Chargers. In January of this year he inked a futures contract with the Steelers.

Johnson was a two-time First-Team All-Mid-American Conference (MAC) selection at Buffalo. His best season came as a junior, when he caught 76 passes for 1,356 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a senior he added 1,011 receiving yards and another 11 touchdowns.

Johnson was with the Steelers in training camp but was waived injured on August 27 to make room for linebacker Jayrone Elliott. Then he was waived with an injury settlement in early September.

WRs on the Pittsburgh Steelers Practice Squad

At the moment, Pittsburgh has two other receivers on its 16-man practice squad, Deon Cain (No. 17) and Cody White (No. 15), a rookie from Michigan State. Cain is most game-ready, as indicated by the fact that he is typically on the team’s weekly list of four “protected” practice squad players.

Johnson will wear No. 83 for the Steelers.

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