Johnson, out of Division II Grand Valley State, was the first of two wide receivers chosen by the Packers in the final round of the NFL Draft on Saturday evening.
"He had a really good pro day workout. He's got good height and length and can run," said Packers general manager Ted Thompson of his 6-foot-2, 215-pound addition. "He's got really good flexibility in and out of his cuts, catches the ball well. We think he's a good receiver, obviously. He didn't get invited to the Combine. We were able to attend his pro day and we got him for a visit to get checked out and visit with him, that sort of thing. (He's a) very nice young man."
Johnson has some elite physical skills. He ran a 4.34 in the 40 and posted a nearly 40-inch vertical jump at his pro day workout, which helped him boost his draft stock.
The unknown for Johnson comes from the road he has traveled. Not counting Louisville, where he initially committed to play, he had been to three colleges over the past six years.
"It was a learning experience. It was something that really grew me up," said Johnson. "There were things that happened in my life that a lot of people didn't have to go through. Some of the things I had to go through got me to where I am today, so it was basically building blocks and it was the concrete steps you had to take to get to success, but also there's going to be obstacles that would get in the way. At times it was hard, but I continued to fight and I wasn't ever going to give up, so that's why I got to where I am today."
Earlier this month, Packer Report detailed Johnson's circuitous route in college football. Read about it here: http://gnb.scout.com/2/1282930.html.
Over the past two seasons at Grand Valley State, Johnson showed a flair for the big play. He can take short routes the distance as well as catch the deep ball. On 128 catches, he averaged 17.4 yards per catch. He also scored 31 touchdowns.
For Kevin Dorsey, on the other hand, the numbers failed to add up in 2012. The Packers' other seventh-round pick at wide receiver had to deal with abnormal circumstances his final year at Maryland. The Terrapins used five different quarterbacks due to injuries, including a converted linebacker for the final four games. As a result, Dorsey caught only 18 passes for 311 yards in 11 games. He caught 45 passes the season before.
"It was pretty tough, especially having to adjust to a new quarterback each and every week," said the 6-foot-1, 207-pound receiver. "It was very unfortunate for so many guys to go down at that position. The good thing is they'll have a speedy, healthy recovery. It was definitely difficult having so little production and having a new guy in there almost every week or every two weeks. It was something you had to adjust to and fight through."
Fight through it he did. He put in extra time on the jugs machine. He worked on his fundamentals. He stayed prepared and continued to work hard, leaning on lessons learned from his parents and experience at Forestville Military Academy before going to Maryland.
The Packers brought Dorsey to Green Bay for a pre-draft visit. With Driver retired and Greg Jennings signing with the Vikings, Dorsey knows he has a shot for a backup spot behind Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb.
"You definitely see an opportunity," said Dorsey. "But before that, I actually kind of fell in love with the team and the area before I really looked even at the depth chart and the opportunity aspect of it. I mean, that's really a bonus, if anything. So, I guess it's a win-win for myself to have such an opportunity and have a place where you want to be and play at a great location for a great franchise."
"I'm a big play receiver," he continued later. "I definitely have the speed to stretch it downfield. And I not only like the ability that I can run downfield, but I take pride in running the short routes that most people think are for the shorter or shifty receivers. I take pride in running those routes just to be diverse in everything I'm doing, never to be a one-dimensional receiver. So, I plan on coming in and working hard every single day, fine tune anything I need to work on and get better at and just try to be a complete receiver at the end of the day whether it's catching or blocking."
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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org