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NFL Draft Profile: Anthony Johnson

NCAA Football: MAC Championship-Northern Illinois at Buffalo Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft is coming up quickly and you may have a chance to see three or four Bulls get their name called this year. Among other places you can watch this years NFL draft on ESPN+.

If you have not signed up for ESPN+ and you decide to give them a try ****, it identifies Bull Run as the site which referred you to the service.

Anthony Johnson will forever be remembered as one of the best players to ever wear the UB Blue and White. After a pair of years in the JUCO ranks, one at Butler Community College and the other at Iowa Western Community College, the wide receiver tore up the Division I ranks when his time came in Buffalo.

After a redshirt season, Johnson compiled 25 touchdowns, nearly 2400 yards and a 17.8 yards per catch average in two years of play. He was unstoppable for much of his career, especially when it came against Mid-American Conference competition. In three games this past year, Johnson have multi-touchdown games against MAC opponents.

The best moment of Johnson’s UB career: He delivered the game-winning touchdown against a not-too-shabby Temple team while battling the flu and mourning the loss of one of his closest friends.

Why should you want your NFL team to go after Johnson?

To put it simply, he is amazing at getting the 50/50 balls when the quarterback makes a bad throw. As good as Tyree Jackson was, Johnson was able to bail his QB out of a lot of tough situations. That quality made him a threat that shredded secondaries a lot when they left him one-on-one, letting UB go to the fade route constantly.

Johnson’s strength is also an asset in terms of yards after catch. At 6-2, 210 pounds, it was a common sight to see him truck through tackles and put the Bulls in even better position.

What might you worry about with Johnson

There’s a lot, and it’s why he went from being a potential first-rounder at the beginning of the 2018 season to as low as the fifth round in mocks.

Firstly, if you care about age, you’re gonna have a problem; Johnson is 24 because of his redshirt year. But let’s also talk about the football problems.

Although he’s got pretty good size and strength, he’s not the most athletic receiver out there and far from the fastest (only ran around a 4.50 40-yard time). He already struggled at creating separation at times against MAC-level competition and the CBs in the NFL are going to be much quicker than he’s used to. Also, his footwork is pretty sloppy at times and it wasn’t uncommon to find him pinned right up against the sideline when running routes.


Johnson is pretty solid all-around, but not enough has a wow-factor to him. He could become an NFL starter some day with some work, but he might not have enough to warrant a pick in the first two rounds. Look out for him to be selected in the late-third, early-fourth rounds.

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