Stevie Johnson is turning into the player that I always thought he could be, a very good possession receiver. From the first moment I saw him play in pre-season in his rookie campaign I knew the kid would become a very decent player. (Meet our new slot receiver)
What struck me almost immediately was his toughness. He was a very willing and effective blocker right off the bat and that's something that really impressed me. Receivers nowadays are a bunch of premadonas that rarely get their noses dirty. I love guys that can take your head off, guys like Hines Ward and Keyshawn Johnson are very few and far between. I immediately saw some of them in Stevie's blocking style.
He's got the right size to be effective over the middle and in the endzone and his receiving skills were good to start and have been improving dramatically. But what I think makes him special is his ability to get open. From the start in 2008 in those pre-season games you could see that his route running was crisp and that he understood the game very well. One on one he'll beat his man every time. What he lacks in speed or quickness, he definitely makes up in agility and body control and he shows it through his ability to always find open spaces.
Now that he's finally gotten his chance to play, he's taken full advantage of it. I am really happy to finally see him make a name for himself. It's too bad that he did not get more opportunities with the previous coaching staff, instead favoring lame duck guys like Reed and Owens. I was extremely vocal on this site over the past two years trying to make a case for Stevie (What could we get for Josh Reed, there are a lot of great threads in this post!!) I think he will continue to develop and be a bright star for us for many more years to come.
And to top it all off, he seems well grounded on and off the field. He seems like a very mature young man that knows his place on the team and is truly taking full advantage of his opportunities.
With Evans/Johnson/Parrish/Nelson the future looks pretty bright to me.