Poll: Steelers fans would keep Diontae Johnson over JuJu Smith-Schuster

James Washington JuJu Smith-Schuster Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
James Washington JuJu Smith-Schuster Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

In a recent social media poll, most fans said they would choose Diontae Johnson over JuJu Smith-Schuster for the future with the Steelers. Here’s why.

JuJu Smith-Schuster had an incredible season last year. The young receiver led the Steelers in both receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,426) and was well on his way to becoming one of the best up-and-coming receivers in the league. However,  things took a turn for the worst this season.

With no Ben Roethlisberger to feed him the ball and without Antonio Brown to alleviate pressure from him, JuJu struggled in 2019. Smith-Schuster managed just 42 receptions, 552 yards, and 3 touchdowns in 12 starts this season. Though he missed a four-game stretch in the second half of the year with a concussion and a knee injury, even when healthy he wasn’t the efficient player we have come to know.

On the flip side, rookie receiver Diontae Johnson exceeded all expectations during his first year in the league. Like JuJu, Johnson started 12 games this season, but the rookie 3rd round draft choice outpaced Smith-Schuster in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Johnson even proved to be a force on special teams – averaging 12.4 yards per punt return and taking one of his punts 85 yards for a touchdown.

With the shift in the tides at wide receiver this year, it begs the question: Which receiver would you take for the Steelers moving forward. I recently took a poll on Twitter to ask this exact question and discovered that a majority of fans would choose Diontae Johnson:

Out of 514 votes,  Johnson collected 55 percent of the total votes with JuJu earning just 42 percent. James Washington was a distant third with just 3 percent of the total votes.

This is certainly an entertaining thought. While the Steelers don’t yet have to choose between these two players, most fans would take the rookie in this hypothetical scenario. It’s not too hard to see why.

Johnson has shown an incredible ability to separate at the top of his routes, as he led the NFL in yards of separation per catch, according to Next Gen Stats.  Johnson also proved to be incredibly slippery after the catch – avoiding would-be tacklers and moving the chains with his legs.

JuJu had an amazing sophomore season with the Steelers in 2018, but his lack of consistent separation and inconsistent hands showed that he might not be the number one receiver fans were hoping for.

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It’s hard not to come away impressed with what Diontae Johnson was able to accomplish as a rookie with no competent quarterback feeding him the ball. Fans say they would choose him over JuJu moving forward. If he continues to progress like we have seen, there will be no doubt.