Steelers 2-a-days: Rookie Dionate Johnson looks to carve niche; JT Jones to fit in as edge rusher | TribLIVE.com
Steelers/NFL

Steelers 2-a-days: Rookie Dionate Johnson looks to carve niche; JT Jones to fit in as edge rusher

Chris Adamski
1370304_web1_gtr-steelers08-051119
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers 3a-round pick Diontae Johnson goes through drills during rookie mini camp Friday, May 10, 2019 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Editor’s note: From now until the first practice of training camp at Saint Vincent College, the Trib will be running through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 90-man roster, assessing each player’s outlook for the 2019 season. The breakdown will go through the roster in mostly-alphabetical order, (at least) two per day, between June 14 and July 26.

WR DIONTAE JOHNSON

Experience: Rookie

Contract status: $778,357 cap hit in 2019, first season of four-year rookie contract

2019 outlook: The Steelers raised eyebrows when they took the smallish University of Toledo product early in the third round after he’d been projected by many as a late third-day pick. The inevitable comparisons – fair or not – are being made with Antonio Brown, but in the very, very early returns Johnson did not exactly light the proverbial world on fire in summer workouts. Injury slowed him early, and when he did join the team reps it was often way down the depth chart. That all could change, of course, at Saint Vincent, and Johnson’s quickness and innate playmaking might be more instantly apparent if he’s healthy and with more weeks immersed in the offense. By the midpoint of the regular season, it wouldn’t be totally shocking if Johnson was the Steelers’ No. 2 receiver – but it likewise isn’t out of the question he’s still a Sunday inactive, either. The reality is he’ll probably end up somewhere in between as a rookie, with the Steelers hoping his career gradually ascends from there.

OLB JT JONES

Experience: Spent rookie 2017 on Falcons’ practice squad, early 2019 in AAF

Contract status: $495,000 cap hit in 2019, under team control for four seasons

2019 outlook: Jones had 21 ½ sacks in 37 games over his final three seasons at Miami (Ohio), and he had four sacks in eight Alliance of American Football games this past winter. The latter caught the attention of the Steelers, who perhaps noticed that Jones had at least one quarterback hit in each of the Atlanta Legends’ games. The Steelers always like to have a developmental edge rusher on their offseason and training-camp rosters, oftentimes one mined from a non-traditional place such as the CFL. Barring injury, it would seem Jones is competing with the likes of Tuzar Skipper to be on the practice squad in 2019.

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.