Scouting Report | Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo


Personal Background

Athletic Background

  • High school
    • Reported at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds
    • Played football and basketball
    • All-state selection for basketball
  • Colleges
    • Butler Community College (2014)
    • Iowa Western Community College before transferring to UB (2015)

Injury History

  • 2018
    • Left hamstring injury — missed two games and limited him in a third game
    • Undisclosed arm injury suffered in the Dollar General Bowl
      • Went on to play at the Senior Bowl


  • Vs. Man Coverage
    • Targets: 43
    • Receptions: 22
    • Yards: 454
    • Yards After Catch: 120
    • Touchdowns: 4
    • Yards Per Reception: 20.4

Film Reviewed

  • 2018
    • Akron
    • Bowling Green
    • Eastern Michigan
    • Kent State
    • Miami (Ohio)
    • Ohio
    • Rutgers
    • Temple
    • Toledo
    • Troy
  • 2017
    • Bowling Green
    • Minnesota


*Anthony Johnson wears #83 in the following cut-ups*



“I understand what he’s going to do and he kind of understands me. There are times where he might switch a route up a little different but we’re on the same page and we understand each other. He’s a playmaker.”

Weaknesses/Question Marks


Anthony Johnson averaged 17.8 yards per reception in his two years in Western New York, and that big play ability is why I believe many overlook how polished of a receiver he is. He isn’t just a deep threat. In fact, I think his nuance in the short area of the field is where his game is going to take off at the next level. Johnson graduated with a major in Sociology and a minor in the art of hand fighting. He routinely releases cleanly off the line of scrimmage because of his hand usage and ability to counter strikes by corners when facing press coverage. His arsenal of chops, swipes, double-handed swipes, arm overs, and forearm wipes fuel his route running and are typically the reason he is able to separate in all phases of a route stem. Johnson’s play speed and route running within the ‘quick game’ structure of the offense should serve him well on Sundays because he is able to sell routes vertically but then snap them off underneath to separate and quickly get his eyes on the quarterback. He is coy with his ability to get positional leverage on defenders of all shapes and sizes and can body them like a power forward. Corners are simply not able to garner any sort of physical or environmental advantage to play through or around Johnson. With that forcefield around his 6-foot-2 frame, the offense can call on the Rock Hill, South Carolina native when they need a chunk play. His body control and ability to track the ball 50 to 60-plus yards down the field is an advantage for the offense on just about every rep. Especially on plays when the quarterback is ad-libbing outside of the structure of the play, Johnson becomes the QB’s lifeline. The redshirt senior is mentally tough; he always came through in the clutch, and that mindset will serve him well in the NFL.

Johnson’s big-play ability gave Buffalonians a lot to cheer about on Saturdays, but I believe that sort of contribution will be few and far between at the NFL level. Needless to say, the talent in the Mid-American Conference is nowhere near what he will face in games, let alone in practice. I will admit he did face solid corners in 2017, but not so much in 2018. His overall athleticism could be an issue, specifically his speed and burst. I am not sure that Johnson will be able to separate with the traits he has shown on tape. That’s why the other parts of his game are so important. There were times where MAC corners were able to mirror his routes step for step, but Johnson would then win at or near the catch point. Aside from the inability to separate on his physical measurables, I would like to see him change gears more frequently when running routes. Changing the pace of his routes will make him much more difficult to cover. With slightly more separation, maybe Johnson can create more yards after the catch, which is something that he didn’t do much of last season. Finally, I would like to see a more tenacious blocker. Johnson appeared lackadaisical on some reps when he was asked to push-crack to the safety. He didn’t fire off the ball and get to the safety, which allowed the defender to make a play in the run game.

Overall, I believe Johnson is a fourth-round pick whose role will likely change at the next level. His game will quickly transition to a possession role instead of a vertical, big play guy, and that’s ok. He has the tools to be a very effective possession guy within the first few years of his NFL career, especially because he can be used as a big slot to work the middle of the field or as a traditional X or Z receiver. He will be useful in the short to intermediate area of the field in the three- to five-step drop game and help convert some first downs in those areas, but he then can win some plays down the field on well designed shot calls or plays outside the structure.