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Arizona Cardinals draft Keesean Johnson

Fresno State’s all time leading receiver moves to the NFL

NCAA Football: Fresno State at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The wait may have been a bit longer than expected, but Keesean Johnson became the first Fresno State player to hear his name called in the NFL draft since 2015. The rangy wide receiver was taken with the first pick of the 6th round, and won’t be going too far away from home for his pro career. After making a slightly puzzling hire of Kliff Kingsbury in January, the Arizona Cardinals organization has gone all in for offensive weapons in the desert. After grabbing Kyler Murray with the 1st overall selection, the Cardinals followed that up with Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler at wide receiver. Then in the 6th round, Keesean Johnson became the third receiver that the Cardinals would take alongside their new QB. That adds to Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk already in Tempe. Stands to reason that we’re going to see an air raid attack coming to Arizona in the Fall, with as many as 5 receivers lining up along the line.

If you’re Keesean Johnson, this definitely looks like a great situation for him to go into. While all-world WR Larry Fitzgerald can still line up anywhere, both Isabella and Kirk are inside receivers, leaving Butler and Johnson to patrol the outside. This is a natural fit for Johnson, as his skill was in route running and getting separation on the outside. The scouts praised his hands and smooth running, even though he isn’t the fastest receiver on the field. He’ll be able to use his size and sure handed abilities to his advantage, even against the top flight DBs he’ll see in the NFL.

Johnson leaves Fresno State as the all-time leading receiver in both yards and receptions, breaking Davante Adams’ records in the SJSU game. He leaves Fresno with 275 career receptions, and 3,463 yards. He also finished his career by catching a pass in 50 consecutive games, which is a program record, and the longest active streak in the FBS. There was only 1 game in his 4 year career where he didn’t log a reception, which is a pretty incredible legacy to leave.

Everyone in Fresno will miss seeing Johnson making acrobatic catches in games, but now they can watch him do the same thing on Sundays in Arizona. Sadly, he would be the only Fresno State player drafted, which came as a shock to most Bulldog fans that expected MW DPOY Jeff Allison or Mike Bell to hear their name called on Saturday. Four more Bulldogs have so far signed free agent deals, with one or two more expected in the coming days.