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AFC East top 25, No. 8: Bills WR Stevie Johnson

Posted by Erik Frenz  May 25, 2013 08:00 AM

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Counting down the top 25 players in the AFC East, one player at a time, one day at a time.

Why Stevie Johnson?

Stevie Johnson erupted onto the scene in his third year in the NFL, and was just the ninth player in NFL history to log at least 80 receptions, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in his third year. Glancing at the list, he's in some hallowed company with the likes of Kellen Winslow Sr., Antonio Freeman, Keyshawn Johnson, Antonio Gates and others.

Stevie has been consistently productive since then, and ranks eighth in receptions, 11th in yards and ninth in touchdowns over the past three years. He has not created many big plays, though. In 2012, only 12 of his 79 receptions went for a total of 20 yards or more, and he was targeted deeper than 20 yards on just 11.8 percent of passes thrown his direction, the second-lowest in the NFL (via Pro Football Focus).

There is one hole in his game, however, when it comes to dropping the ball. He had 13 drops in 2010 and 11 drops in 2012, and his rate of dropped passes was among the 10 worst in the NFL.

He doesn't have the skill set of a true No. 1 wide receiver -- the size and speed most people look for in an outside threat -- but he has plenty of physical tools in terms of quickness, balance and body control, and along with some of the best route-running skills in the NFL and a great sense of how to get open against certain looks, Johnson is easily one of the league's most underrated pass-catchers.

Did you know?

Johnson has started more games at wide receiver than any seventh-round draft pick since Kevin Walter in 2003 (91 career starts).

Bonus reading

Cian Fahey provides probably the most in-depth breakdown of an individual player I've ever seen.

Check back every morning as we reveal one player a day on our way to No. 1 in the top 25.


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »

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