Collin Johnson looked like he was on his way to being an important piece for the New York Giants last year, until an Achilles tear ended his season before it even began.
Will he be able to pick up where he left off? Or has the roster progressed too much for him to find a role in the offense?
By the numbers
Position: Wide receiver
Contract: Year 4 of four-year, $3.602 million rookie deal | 2023 cap hit: $1.01 million
Career to date
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Johnson in the fifth round in 2020. He had 18 catches and two touchdowns but was released following his rookie year.
The Giants claimed Johnson off waivers in 2021. He had 11 catches on 21 targets and also played 108 snaps on special teams.
Johnson was a standout during training camp and preseason last year and was taking reps with the first team. But he suffered a non-contact Achilles tear in late August and missed the entire season. He’s still working his way back from that injury.
Johnson certainly has potential. At 6-foot-6, he’s a full three inches taller than any other wide receiver on the Giants roster — and possibly the tallest receiver in the NFL, depending on which source you consult. He looked to be headed toward a larger role last year based on praise from head coach Brian Daboll.
“He’s made the most of his opportunities,” Daboll said last year. “So, we’ve talked to these guys about earning it, and he’s certainly earned it with his opportunities that he’s gotten. If he does well, he’ll get more opportunities. He’s smart. He’s got position flexibility in terms of intelligence and understanding the roster. He’s made plays. He’s done a nice job.”
However, a true projection is difficult without seeing how Johnson recovers from the Achilles tear. He never possessed breathtaking speed, and if he’s slowed down even more it could be an issue.
Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Darius Slayton, and Jalin Hyatt are “locks” to make the 53-man roster, along with Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson depending on their health. Jeff Smith was also signed as a free agent. That leaves one or two spots open for someone like Johnson, Jamison Crowder, or undrafted free agent Bryce Ford-Wheaton.
Another impressive training camp from Johnson could be enough to secure a roster spot. If not, he should be a prime candidate to stay on the practice squad and step in for any potentially injured players.