Juwan Johnson is growing into a trusty TE1 for the Saints

New Orleans Saints, Juwan Johnson
New Orleans Saints, Juwan Johnson / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

This season keeps circling the drain for the New Orleans Saints, yet one player continues to up his value: Juwan Johnson.

In possibly the most debilitating loss of the season for the Saints, NOLA fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-10 in Week 10. The team will have to take a long, hard look in the mirror to decide where to go from here -- break everything down and rebuild, or try to salvage what's left of the season?

One piece may be worth keeping if the Saints do opt for a rebuild: tight end Juwan Johnson.

The third-year player has been quietly putting together a career-best season in 2022, recording 23 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Even on a team stacked with talents like Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave, Johnson has been one of the most-targeted players in the red zone this year.

He had a nice touchdown run against the Ravens last week, and he scored another in the second quarter against the Steelers to keep the Saints in the game.

Saints' Juwan Johnson is developing into a big-play receiver in 2022

Johnson's direct competition in the position group is Adam Trautman, who continues to disappoint this season. Johnson had been steadily gaining on Trautman in terms of snap counts throughout the year, and he arguably offers more value than Trautman as both a capable receiver and a stalwart pass-blocker.

Johnson's ascension in NOLA's receiver ranks couldn't have come at a better time, but unfortunately, the Saints look nowhere near a playoff-contending team.

Johnson led the team in catches, targets, and receiving yards against the Steelers, but Andy Dalton's poor quarterback play and and the Saints' overall pitiful offensive effort overshadowed Johnson's big day.

The Saints appear to get worse and worse every week, yet Johnson's solid performances nonetheless deserve recognition.

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In a season that's as dark as this, it's all about the little victories. and Saints' Juwan Johnson is one of them.