Stevie Johnson Adjusting to New Role on San Francisco 49ers
In the offseason, the San Francisco 49ers added some much-needed depth at the wide receiver position by trading for Stevie Johnson.
Last season for the Buffalo Bills, Johnson caught 52 passes for 597 yards and three touchdowns. Before last season though, Johnson had three 1,000 yard seasons with the Bills and didn’t miss a game in that span. After struggling last season, Johnson is ready to prove that the 49ers made a good decision by trading for him.
After Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, the 49ers need to figure out who their third receiver will be, and Johnson will most likely fill that role. Johnson was the number one receiver for the Bills, but with the 49ers, he will have to “clearly” win the number three receiver job over other candidates such as Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, or even Brandon Lloyd.
Johnson is open to having a different role this season and to having to fight for his spot though. Matt Maiocco of Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area reports:
“It feels good. I can’t lie,” he said. “It feels good to know that you got other guys that can make big plays. It’s not all on your shoulders. I’m happy to be a part of it, and I’m sure the guys are happy to have me on the squad with them and get this thing rolling.”
Johnson might have a different role this season, but he said he’s excited to be competing on a championship caliber team. He had to sit out most of the offseason activities that the 49ers held due to a hamstring injury, but he’s quickly adjusting to his new team and teammates.
Colin Kaepernick has already started to develop some chemistry with Johnson. Bill Williamson of ESPN.com spoke with Kaepernick about this:
This is what Colin Kaepernick had to say about his limited offseason work with new receiver Stevie Johnson: “It was pretty easy. He’s another guy that’s easy to throw to because he creates so much separation. Very quick, very deceptive, and I’m happy he’s on our side of the ball.”
If Johnson can solidify his role as the third receiver, his presence could greatly benefit Kaepernick and the 49ers’ offense. They will finally have a solid third receiver option that has NFL experience, and he will also add another element to the offense.
ESPN scout Matt Williamson even said that Johnson could be an elite third receiver in the NFL.
“I would say he is one of the very best 3rd receivers in the NFL,” Williamson said. “He has a proven track record. [At 28], he’s still more or less in his prime. He doesn’t have anything close to elite talents, but gets the most out of what he has.”
Williamson also thinks that the 49ers’ top three receivers (Crabtree, Boldin, and Johnson) rank among the top 10 in the NFL. Add in Vernon Davis‘ receiving, and 49ers fans should be excited for what’s to come this season.