Diontae Johnson: Panthers told me I’ll be X receiver, first read on ‘almost every play’

The Carolina Panthers brought in wideout Diontae Johnson to make life easier for quarterback Bryce Young—and they told him so right from the jump.

Johnson spoke with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, following the team’s first outing of voluntary minicamp. He was asked about what he can do to help the 22-year-old Young, who experienced a pretty rough rookie campaign in 2023.

“Just a guy that can get open, no matter where I’m at on the field,” he replied. “Just get him that sense of comfort when he’s back there knowing he got a guy that can get open anywhere on the field. That’s what I’m here to do—make plays.”

Well, he made plenty of plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first five seasons of his NFL career. There, Johnson amassed 391 receptions for 4,363 yards and 25 touchdowns—a body of work highlighted by a Pro Bowl selection in 2021.

Pittsburgh then traded Johnson to Carolina back on March 12, in exchange for cornerback Donte Jackson and a late-round pick swap in the 2024 NFL draft. And that deal could prove to be a fruitful one for the Panthers, who apparently made their intentions clear to Johnson.

“Dave told me that as soon as I got here,” he said. “I’m playing the X, ‘You’re gonna be the first read in the progression almost every play.’ ‘Cause my unique skill set that I bring to the table, I’m gonna utilize it.”

Johnson has averaged nearly 128 targets per season as a pro, so seeing the rock is nothing new for the 27-year-old pass catcher.

Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire