"Of course he had a great year and he is a great receiver, but I look at more than statistics and I thought a couple of other receivers had a better season, Brandon Marshall and A.J. Green," Tim Ryan, analyst for Fox Sports and Sirius Radio, told The Sports Xchange.
"Johnson was targeted a lot and was often the only thing the Lions had going, but he also dropped a lot of passes and they did lose 12 games," he continued. "I felt Marshall helped Chicago win games, and Green helped Cincinnati win games. I think that is more important than statistics."
Ryan is entitled to his opinion, and frankly his choices are worthy candidates. We are also entitled to point out the foolishness of him keeping a receiver with 1,964 receiving yards off his ballot.
Ryan points out that Johnson was targeted "a lot." It's true that Megatron had the most targets in the league, 205. However, that was only 11 more targets than Marshall and Reggie Wayne, who each were targeted 194 times. For those 11 targets, Johnson gained 456 more yards than Ryan's All-Pro selection, Marshall.
Sorry, forgot we're disregarding statistics.
It's also true that Megatron was the only thing the Lions offense had going, which makes his accomplishment more impressive. He saw coverages no other receiver could have handled, and some -- not all -- of his drops were a product of his ability to get to balls lesser men would have no shot at (similar to how a shortstop with great range might have a lot of errors).
In the red zone, Johnson was often triple- or even quadruple-covered, leading to many easy scores (you're welcome, Mikel Leshoure).
Ryan's omission of Johnson seems more an indictment of the Lions' disappointing season than of Megatron. Adrian Peterson and J.J. Watt led their teams to the playoffs, thus deserving unanimous votes. But Marshall didn't exactly lead his team to a playoff bid, and they started 7-1.
We'd be remiss not to note that Ryan played his entire NFL career for the Chicago Bears, but of course that had nothing to do with his decision.
Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.