Draft Review: Andre Johnson
The complete height, weight, speed package
GOSSELIN DRAFT ANALYSIS: Johnson came out of the same Miami high school as former Hurricane All-America, first-round NFL draft pick and Pro Bowler Eddie Brown. He chose to follow in Brown’s footsteps to the University Miami, where he became a two-year starter and an All-Big East selection as a junior. Few schools have the NFL history at wide receiver that Miami has and Johnson left Coral Gables third all-time in receiving touchdowns and fifth in yards. In the 2002 national championship game against Nebraska Johnson caught seven passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns to win game MVP honors. He also was a 60- and 100-meter dash champion in Big East track. He opted to skip his senior season to turn pro and measured 6-2, 224 pounds at the combine. He ran a 4.35 40 at his campus workout and also vertical jumped 39 inches. Gosselin placed Johnson No. 4 on his Top 100, his second WR after Charles Rogers at 2. Rogers was selected second overall by the Detroit Lions and Johnson No. 3 overall by the Houston Texans.
Here are comments on Johnson from 8 talent evaluators leading up to his 2005 NFL draft:
Scout: Tremendous explosion. At that size, height and weight he’s faster than Bo Jackson.
Scout II: My No. 1 WR. He’s bigger than Rogers and plays bigger in the big games.
Scout III: His drops are a concern.
Wide receiver coach: Not a natural catcher. Double catches and body catches. It’s almost like he’s trying to squeeze the air out of the ball. That can be corrected. He’s a big guy that can move.
Personnel director: How do you walk away from a guy 6-2, 225 that runs a 4.3? But I still need to be convinced on his hands.
Personnel director II: I wish I could see what others are seeing in him. I don’t know where it’s coming from.
General manager: Special.
General manager II: Like him better than Charles Rogers. He’s the best receiver in the draft and looks like a man among boys. I hope the Lions take Rogers because I don’t want to have to play against this kid.
HALL OF FAME RESUME: Johnson became a walk-in starter on the expansion Texans, catching 66 passes as a rookie in 2003. He posted his first 1,000-yard season (1,142) the following season, earning the first of his seven Pro Bowl invitations. He twice led the NFL in receptions, catching 103 passes in 2006 and 115 in 2008. He would catch 100 or more passes in five of his 14 NFL seasons and also ring up 1,000 yards seven times. He led the league in receiving yards in both 2008 and 2009 with back-to-back 1,500-yard seasons. Johnson played his first 12 seasons with the Texans, then spent a year with Indianapolis and another year with Tennessee before retiring after the 2016 season. He ranks 11th all-time in both catches (1,076) and yards (14,185), also catching 70 touchdown passes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Gosselin spent 20 years as the NFL columnist for the Dallas Morning News, including 20 offseasons studying and researching prospects for the NFL draft. He didn’t watch any tape – he was a writer, not a scout – but he talked to the men who did watch tape. He built a network of NFL general managers, head coaches, personnel directors, scouts and assistant coaches from all 32 teams who would share with him their analyses of players. Gosselin used their insights to build his own draft board, Top 100 board and mock drafts. For 10 consecutive years he had the best Top 100 board in the country (2001-10), according to the Huddle Report, and three times he produced the best mock draft. Gosselin resurrects his college scouting reports for a look back at how NFL talent evaluators viewed the draft prospects.