ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: David Johnson #31 that the Arizona Cardinals scores a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills throughout the second fifty percent at new Era field on September 25, 2016 in Orchard Park, brand-new York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)


Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson was recently called the winner of agree Football Focus’ finest Receiver award for the 2016 NFL season. To see the winner of every audioeditorfree.com award, visit ours NFL awards page.

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While rewarding the ideal player at any type of given place is worthwhile, the All-Pro team takes care of the bulk of the every season. The yes, really intriguing awards room those the cross positional barriers and reward traits and production family member to a player’s peers—not just success at one position.

Arizona Cardinals running earlier David Johnson to be selected come audioeditorfree.com’s All-Pro team in the brand-new designation that “flex” player, presented by the connected Press this season to deal with the an altering nature of how offenses deploy your personnel. Johnson is the ultimate flex weapon in today’s NFL, and it’s due to the fact that of his ability as a receiver, in addition to his to run skills. That work as a receiving option is what earned the the nod together the finest Receiver in the game throughout the 2016 season.

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A year ago, Luke Kuechly won audioeditorfree.com’s inaugural finest Coverage Defender award because that his job-related in the Carolina defense at middle linebacker. That, the course, doesn’t median Kuechly would be the ideal player to split out and play cornerback one-on-one against WR Julio Jones in just the same way a cornerback no necessarily the ideal player to shot and covering TE plunder Gronkowski. The NFL is around matchups, traits and skill-sets.

In a tight gyeongju this season, David Johnson to be the finest receiver in the NFL, and also that can be true without an interpretation that he’s the male you desire lined up in ~ wideout every snap, acquisition on the league’s ideal corners.

Despite checking in at roughly 230 pounds, Johnson inside wall up everywhere the ar for the Cardinals this season, not just in the backfield. He spent time break-up out together a true wideout ~ above both sides of the field, and also at every slot place you have the right to think of; he to be by much the league’s most involved ago in the passing game.

Johnson led the NFL in targets (107), receptions (80), receiving yards (879) and also missed tackles forced in the passing video game (27) amongst running backs, and also was part distance clean of the fill in three of those 4 categories.

He finished the season v the league’s greatest audioeditorfree.com receiving grade regardless of place (92.6), directly edging out Atlanta"s Julio Jones and Tampa Bay"s Mike Evans, who each had actually fine seasons and were steady in the to run for this award.

What the end Johnson is just how far clear of his peers he to be this year, and this was a season that had some impressive receiving backs ~ above display. Most backs—even those that are significant factors in the happen game—are yes, really only used on display passes, together check-down outlets, or on fast passes over the center just beyond the heat of scrimmage. The average back is targeted simply 0.8 yards downfield, 11 yards shorter than the average wide receiver, and also 7.4 yards shy of the typical tight end target. Very broadly speaking, those 3 positions target three separate levels that a defense.

David Johnson, though, is versatile sufficient to start to overcome those divides. He had actually the league’s highest average depth that target amongst all to run backs, in ~ 4.6 yards downfield. When you think about that that still has actually a chunk of the timeless backfield targets dragging that typical down, there is a far-reaching volume of legit downfield pat in his video game that isn’t there for many running backs.

When lined up as a recipient or working downfield on wheel routes, Johnson’s average depth that target to be 8.2 yards downfield, more commensurate v a dare or receiver than a to run back. Compare the to Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell, who is seen as a comparable kind of versatile receiving hazard to Johnson, and also there is a 3-yard gap in mean depth of target even on simply those plays whereby they are separation out as a receiver. Johnson is to run legitimate recipient routes when he gets split out, if Bell is still minimal to shorter stuff wherein he can get yards after the catch.

Take this play against Washington together an example. The Cardinals are encountering third-and-long top top their opening drive, i beg your pardon had got 23 yards come that allude (of i m sorry Johnson had contributed 12). To run backs frequently only obtain the ball on third-and-long together a critical resort, or an attempt to just pick up some, no all, of the yardage. The Cardinals, though, separation Johnson out wide as a receiver and run a legit sideline sample to pick up the full distance. That wins, provides the reception, and gains 13 yards ~ above third-and-11.

Now, this is clearly a pretty regimen play because that a wide receiver, and also the point isn’t to compare Johnson to Mike Evans and also Julio Jones route-for-route or claim that that is act the things they space doing better, however rather to compare receiving within their respective roles.

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Johnson is doing points that his partner aren’t also coming close to, gift asked to take on roles that many backs aren’t, and has excelled in law so. He was the best receiver regardless of position in the 2016 NFL season, earning his audioeditorfree.com compensation for precisely that.