Teammates have been heaping praise on Johnson all spring and summer, not much different from what we heard last year. But it's nice to see confirmation in the games, exhibitions as they are. Johnson ran up four catches for 78 yards against the Giants two weeks back (at the end of this video you'll see him masterfully juking Corey Webster on a beautiful 25-yard catch), and in Week 2 against Cincinnati it was more of the same (three grabs, 76 yards, touchdown). Johnson's first catch on the loop shows how easily he can abuse single coverage. The Bengals did their best mugging on the TD catch, but it didn't keep Johnson from completing the play.
You probably remember the scouting report on CJ out of Georgia Tech - start with the Randy Moss template, add some thickness, not quite as fast. Johnson can jump out of Ford Field and he's got Velcro on his mitts. His rookie washout can be explained by a lot of things; a recurring back problem, Mike Martz's affection for Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald, issues picking up the complicated offense and adjusting to the pro game, etc. Now healthy, a year wiser, and safely away from Mad Mike, the fantasy public seems ready to go "double or nothing" on Johnson's monstrous upside.
New offensive coordinator Jim Colletto wants more balance in the Detroit offense this year, the coach-speak you always hear from the new guy (just once I'd love to hear someone say, "we're going to be unbalanced on offense, darn it; rip up half of that playbook!"). But do the Lions have the pieces to run the ball consistently? The offensive line is one of the worst in the league. The ground game has been sluggish this month. And the mediocre Detroit defense will probably do its best to facilitate a few shootouts as the season goes along.I was able to snag Johnson with pick 53 in the Y! Commenters League Friday. He went 52nd overall in the Friends & Family Draft a few days earlier, to John Hansen. The ADP report confirms that sticker - Johnson is the No. 19 receiver from the current Mock Draft Central data, and 52nd overall. But with an industry-wide hype campaign starting with Johnson, can we still land these prices in the peak part of draft season?
Fresh Yahoo! ranks just came out of the oven, and three of us said "hey 19" with Johnson - that's where Brandon Funston, Brad Evans, and myself slotted CJ on our respective WR boards. Andy Behrens is the most ambitious (16th), Matt Buser the most skeptical (21st). What about you? How early will you take a leap of faith on the Leaping Lion? Are you willing to pay a little extra, or does the overflowing bandwagon steer you elsewhere? Discuss.
- Mike Martz