And it’s really no contest.
While I could try to make an argument for Matthew Stafford and swear up and down that Megatron would not be nearly as successful with another quarterback in town, it just wouldn’t make sense. Johnson is the engine that makes the Lions run on offense, and without him this team really wouldn’t have a prayer.
It’s really quite humorous think that some were actually outraged when the Lions took Johnson making him their fourth wide receiver selection in the last five drafts in the opening round. Obviously the other three – Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams, respectively – didn’t get the job done. Still, it seems pretty clear that the Lions got the pick right back in 2007.
Let’s just start with the obvious. Johnson broke the receiving yards record last season with an astounding 1,964 yards just one year after putting up a staggering 16 touchdown grabs. Points, not yards, win games so the Lions actually took a huge step backwards in Johnson’s record-setting campaign, but that shouldn’t diminish his importance to the team.
Still just 27 years of age, Johnson is just entering his prime as a player. He still has a good five huge seasons in front of him which certainly bodes well for the future of the Lions. His combination of speed and size is something that can’t be taught, and his presence on the field draws coverage away from other players which makes them better players as a result.
There really is no way to poke holes in this argument.
What Johnson has to hope for in the future is that the Lions can have their defense catch up to their offense in order to find more victories. Of the 6,540 total yards the team gained on offense, Johnson’s 1,964 accounted for nearly a third of that total. Clearly a running game around him wouldn’t hurt either.
Even though Megatron is absolutely irreplaceable for the Lions, their head coach Jim Schwartz isn’t. If the team fails to muster a record near .500 in the upcoming season, the Lions could be looking at yet another rebuilding process. And no one wants to see another one of the game’s best talents at wide receiver (ahem, Larry Fitzgerald) go to waste.