After months of trade rumors surrounding the Seahawks, moves are beginning to happen. Pro bowl defensive lineman Michael Bennett was the first marquee Seahawks player to be traded this off-season. Bennett was moved to the Eagles in exchange for a fifth round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson.
Who is the receiver the Seahawks are getting in return for Bennett? Johnson is an undrafted wide receiver out of Texas, far from market value for Bennett. However, Johnson did put up crazy numbers at his Texas Pro Day. According to Bleeding Green Nation, he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash, had a 37-inch vertical leap and a 11’3″ broad jump.
Burnt Orange Nation’s Wescott Eberts described Johnson’s outlook heading into the NFL.
No, there were never any projections for Johnson to go in the draft. He flashed some as a sophomore with long touchdown catches against Oklahoma and TCU, but over his last two seasons his production never matched that potential. Part of the issues was probably the terrible quarterback play at Texas — his freshman season was the only year it was anywhere close to competent, so the best-case scenario for Johnson is that his athleticism finally gets a chance to shine through.
This move has less to do about Johnson, and more about the Seahawks desire to move some salary off their books. Seattle failed to make the playoffs in 2017, and are looking to reshuffle the roster in hopes of making another title run. Richard Sherman is also rumored to be on the move as his teammates including Jeremy Lane have made ominous social media posts pointing to Sherman’s departure.
Johnson will likely be fighting for a roster spot once he gets to Seattle. He played in 10 games last season for the Eagles posting five receptions for 45 yards. Johnson had 61 catches for 793 yards and four touchdowns during his four seasons at Texas. His best season came his sophomore year with the Longhorns when Johnson had 22 receptions, 350 yards and two touchdowns. According to The Daily News, Johnson had an ankle injury that impacted his production during his senior season.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Johnson is seen as a potential replacement for Paul Richardson if the Seahawks are not able to retain Richardson. Bennett had two more years on his current contract, and is set to make $6 million next season. By contrast, Johnson will make $550,000 next season on the final year of a two-year contract.
SirusXM’s Adam Caplan described Johnson as a potential WR4 on the Seahawks roster.
“Marcus Johnson is a good route runner, has good hands, can play on special teams. Good short area quickness. Has a real shot to make roster as #Seahawks #4 WR,” Caplan tweeted.
Johnson Made It to the NFL Despite Being a 3-Star High School Recruit & Going Undrafted Out of Texas
Johnson explained to The Daily News how he has been able to make it in the NFL despite going undrafted.
I was constantly learning new systems and things like that, so it really helped me once I got to the NFL to just adapt…I was written off, I could feel it. There was a lot going on, as far as me being doubted, and I remember at a certain point, I just told myself, ‘You know what? I’ve gotten so caught up in everything but who I am as a player, and it changes now.’ I took an approach that I’m not worried about anything else, I’m not worried about all the different possibilities, all the different guys we can bring in, this, that or the other. I’m just focused on what I can bring to this team and being the greatest version of myself…I know what I’m capable of doing, but it’s just about me showing it, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to get the most out of myself and continue to uplift my teammates around me and just take it one step at a time.
According to Rivals, Johnson was a three-star recruit heading into Texas who also had offers from West Virginia, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Northwestern and Arizona.
After committing to Texas, Johnson described his game in an interview with ESPN.
“They are getting someone whose work habit is crazy,” Johnson told ESPN. “I think I have got to this position because I work hard. I know my junior year people doubted me. I made sure this summer to work hard and I still feel like I am not anywhere close to my full potential. I feel like I am a polished receiver, someone whose routes are crisp and make plays.”
During the 2018 NFL Combine, Johnson took to Twitter to emphasize the importance of his pro day in giving him an NFL opportunity.
“Say whatever y’all want about the combine & pro day. But my opportunity in the NFL would NOT have been possible without the PRO DAY I had & numbers I put up📢💯 #UndraftedLOVE,” Johnson tweeted.
Here’s some highlights of Johnson’s Texas Pro Day.
Johnson frequently speaks of his faith on Twitter, and was baptized during his tenure in Philadelphia. According to The Daily News, Johnson was baptized during an Eagles road trip in front of teammates at the team hotel.
“It was just me talking to God, saying, ‘I want to be better, I want to do better, and I want to live for You,’” Johnson told The Daily News. “And so many doors opened after that day — from trainers that I had never worked with that I got in connection with that ultimately helped me make the roster, getting a closer relationship with not only my teammates, but pastors in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area, which ultimately allowed me to be baptized.”