There are a few candidates for the job. Justin Watson and Scotty Miller both played during the regular season and Bryant Mitchell was seen as an up-and-comer before tearing his Achilles during the preseason. Those three guys are viewed as incumbents, but there’s one newcomer who has been viewed as a guy who could possibly crack the receiver rotation in 2020.
That guy would be Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay’s fifth round draft pick. There was a lot of excitement surrounding the pick when it was made and rightfully so. He is Minnesota’s all-time leader when it comes to receiving yards and touchdowns in his career. The dude knows how to make plays.
As promising as that sounds, head coach Bruce Arians had some bad news regarding Johnson when he spoke with reporters via Zoom on Wednesday.
“Scotty [Miller] added about 10 pounds – he looks great. Justin [Watson] finished the season playing really well,” Arians told reporters. “He’s running as fast as I’ve ever seen him right now, running and playing. ‘Mitch’ (Bryant Mitchell) got hurt last year. The young guys are going to have to get in shape. Tyler [Johnson] has a little bit of an injury right now, so he’s missing some time. I think John Franklin and Cyril Grayson, some of the guys that were here, have a lot of athletic ability and speed, so they’re looking for their roles. Again, it’s that three, four and five – maybe six – and on special teams where Justin [Watson] led our team in tackles last year on special teams, so he has his niche.”
That’s right. Apparently, Johnson is “missing time” due to an injury.
It’s unfortunate news, but it doesn’t spell disaster. As excited as the coaching staff/fan base is about this pick, it’s not like it was set in stone that he was going to be an immediate contributor Day One. Sure, it’d be great if he could have a full preseason/camp under his belt before going into the season, but this isn’t worth ringing any alarm bells.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how much time he misses and what the severity of the injury is. Until then, we will just have to keep our collective eyes open for updates.