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Carolina Panthers

5 things to know about Panthers receiver Diontae Johnson

Diontae Johnson

CHARLOTTE— The Panthers have a new threat in the passing game, after signing free agent Diontae Johnson. The former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver comes to the Queen City after five years in the Steel City, and will look to give Bryce Young a dynamic option out of the receiving corps.

Get to know the Panthers newest receiver a little more with these five things to know.

2021 was one for the books

Johnson's 2021 season was his best on record. That year, he surpassed 1,000 yards, ending with 1,161 yards total, on 107 receptions, with eight touchdowns, all career highs. That year, he also had his best year on the ground, rushing five times for 53 yards, averaging 10.6 per rush.

Three games that year, Johnson went over 100 yards total. Unsurprisingly, he made his first Pro Bowl following that season.

He holds a strange NFL record

During the 2022 season, Johnson set a strange NFL record; one that a receiver normally wouldn't want but is impressive in its own right. He finished that season with a team-high 86 receptions for 882 yards, but no touchdowns. It set an NFL record for most receptions in a single season without a touchdown.

He finds space

One of the biggest aspects of Johnson's game is his ability to create space. In fact, since 2020, Johnson has created the most space of any receiver in the league, according to ESPN's advanced analytics. The other four receivers behind Johnson are, in order: AJ Brown, Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson and Stefon Diggs.

A return man as well

Johnson was used as a returner for the first two years of his career in the NFL. He hasn't been a returner the last three seasons, but has a proven ability to not only do so, but do it well. His rookie season, in 2019, Johnson returned 20 punts for 248 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came on an 85-yard punt return. He averaged 12.4 yards per return, which led the entire league that season. After the season, Johnson was named a second team All-Pro as a punt return specialist.

His nickname is Juice

Johnson isn't sure where he first picked up the nickname "Juice," just that it's always been there.

The idea being that he will always bring the juice, it's a name that was first given to him as a young football player and has stuck with him his entire career.

Even though he doesn't remember where it came from, it's a name he strives to live up to, saying, "I'm just like if you saying it. I'm just go ahead and run with it. So, it is what it is. But I like it though. I'm trying to stick with it."

View action shots of Diontae Johnson throughout his career.

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