Juwan Johnson An Intriguing NFL Draft Prospect After Up & Down College Career

Former Penn State wide receiver Juwan Johnson didn’t have the perfect career in Happy Valley, but thanks to a strong senior year with Oregon, the former four-star recruit from New Jersey could very well hear his name called at this year’s NFL Draft.

The wide receiver has found himself all over the map in several mock drafts. He’s been considered a mid-round pick in a few projections, but also hasn’t even been named in a couple prokections. The highest Johnson has been predicted to go is in Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s mock draft, which had him as the No. 96 overall pick and going in the third round to the New Orleans Saints.

In early February, though, Miller had the Nittany Lion fall all the way to the sixth round, as the No. 192 overall pick to the New York Jets.

Johnson arrived at Penn State in 2015, but didn’t get any serious playing time until his sophomore year in 2017. He started 13 games that season, hauling in 54 catches for 701 yards and a touchdown. That single score was the first of his Nittany Lion career and ended up being arguably the biggest of the season for the team, as Trace McSorley found him in the end zone for a last-second touchdown against Iowa.

After such a promising year, though, the 6’4″, 225-pound wide receiver didn’t build off that level of production, as injuries and inconsistency hampered him the following season. After his junior season, Johnson announced that he would enter the transfer portal and eventually ended up at Oregon.

Johnson had a solid year as a senior with the Ducks. He grabbed 30 receptions for 467 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. The wide receiver had his biggest showing when he scored three touchdowns in Oregon’s 56-24 beatdown of USC.

The big target even closed out his Duck career with a key, game-clinching reception to help Oregon win the Rose Bowl this past January.

Johnson received an invite to the NFL Combine after his year at Oregon and performed fairly well. He ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, had a 124-inch broad jump, and ran 4.37-second 20-yard shuttle.

NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein explained that Johnson’s lack of speed and inconsistent hands (something that he struggled with at Penn State) will likely hurt his draft stock. However, he did mention several positives on the big wide receiver.

“He has a big, strong frame, and is decent when tasked with catching through contact and is a willing, effective blocker in space,” Zierlein wrote.

Zierlein added that Johnson’s size could help him slide into the third and final day of the draft as a “developmental receiver” or even a “matchup tight end.”

While he had his share of struggles at Penn State, Johnson certainly made some big-time plays throughout his career in Happy Valley. His continued success at Oregon, size, and overall strength could add up to make him an attractive late-round grab for an NFL team.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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