Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end David Johnson (85) runs after a pass reception as Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte (47) defends during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Bears won 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Tight end David Johnson spent the first 5 years of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the 7th round of the 2009 draft. He has playoff and Super Bowl experience. He is a solid 6’2″ 260 pounds, a tough kid from Arkansas. What he isn’t is Antonio Gates….
Gates has revolutionized the tight end position, turning it into almost a bigger, heavier receiver. David Johnson is old school. “I’ve always been a blocker first,” he told Chargers.com’s Rick Henne. He knows his role in this offense. Don’t look for Johnson to get 6 or 7 catches a game. Rather, look for him to get nasty down in the trenches, acting as a 6th lineman. He has appeared in 52 games and only has 22 receptions for 216 yards and 1 touchdown. He can catch the ball when needed however. At Arkansas State he did have 760 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns.
Catching passes and running over safeties into the endzone won’t be his job in 2014. “I like doing the grunt work that most people might not notice,” he told Henne. During OTA’s he is working with the Bolts offensive line to sync up to maximize blocking efficiency. Having a tight end with a lineman’s mentality is always a plus on a team that looks to run the ball like the Chargers.
He is healthy after battling through some injuries the past 2 seasons. This is good news for Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown. With an additional talented running back in Brown, the Chargers will pound the ball even more next year. Johnson can help with that. In fact, he loves it. The Chargers struggled a lot in the red zone last year. Having an extra 250+ pound body making running lanes when it matters the most is a great thing. He is the old school, blocking, cutting, moving, knock-your-mouthguard-out kind of player. Just what the Chargers need to have another successful season offensively.