2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: KeeSean Johnson
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Fresno State
Weight: 198 pounds
Round Projection: 4
With the ball headed toward him, Johnson never panics. Regardless of route, circumstance, or placement, he plucks the ball with confidence. In addition, Johnson uses a bit of catch nuance. That is to say, he will raise his hands later to slightly deceiver the corner into thinking the ball has not arrived yet. While insignificant to most, that hesitation gives Johnson a split-second head start after the grab. Despite standing barely 6’2”, Johnson will highpoint a ball with his hands, whether in traffic or not. In an age when pundits decry the lack of fundamentals of catching, Johnson exemplifies technique and execution.
This area will concern a large segment of the drafting and analyst population. Johnson runs well enough, possessing adequate burst. Granted, he will not blur by the corner. To his credit, Johnson does not try to by elongating his strides or any other cheats. His speed, is what it is. When facing speedy corners, Johnson realizes his disadvantage and operates within the context of his abilities.
Like many possession receivers, Johnson will run his routes the exact same way. When assigned a go, his burst off the snap does not differ from a slant or fade. With Johnson, uniformity creates separation. By keeping the corners guessing, opponents can’t jump routes or anticipate.
In Fresno State’s scheme, Johnson needed to master different routes. When cutting a perfect slant, Johnson will body a corner out of the way with contact. Correspondingly, post and slants feature precise cuts and the ability to threaten a double move. For Johnson, the playbook remains wide open.
With Johnson, he brings an edge to the field. While he is not the biggest, faster, or strongest, he affects the game everywhere. From defeating the jam with aggression and balance or blocking downfield with purpose, Johnson plays the game with attitude. At the next level, that feistiness will serve him very well.
Granted, Johnson may not fit the mold of a bigger Gruden receiver. However, his two strongest traits are what Gruden values most. Johnson runs slick routes and will catch the ball, whether poorly thrown or not. Moreover, he will catch hospital balls (badly thrown and emerge healthy) While Johnson does not fit the mold of a number one, he could feast as a number two/possession/slot wideout with upside.