Minnesota Gophers receiver Tyler Johnson closed out his career with a bang during the Outback Bowl last January, and it may have been the key reason why he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians explained that Johnson caught his eye during the Gophers' 31-24 win over Auburn last January. When Johnson slid to the fifth round, Arians just had to have the former Gopher standout.
“Oh man, I couldn’t tell you how long I was waiting on that one,” Arians said of the 161st pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. “I was just shaking…I actually sat here and watched [the Outback Bowl] in Tampa with my son and it was ‘I gotta get this guy.’ We really wanted him and we had a high grade. Guys were coming and going and I was like ‘Phew, we finally got him.’ I was really, really excited.”
Gopher fans can’t blame Arians for being excited about Johnson’s potential. Johnson closed out his college career with 12 catches for 204 yards and 2 TD in the victory despite being lined up frequently against cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, who was a first-round pick for the Miami Dolphins.
Johnson also should have plenty of opportunities to make an impact in Tampa Bay. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the outside, Johnson should have a chance to run routes from the slot, which should give future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady a chance to get him the ball.
No matter what his role, it appears that Johnson landed in a great spot in Tampa Bay.