Olabisi Johnson was being asked how well he knew some of the 27 receivers drafted ahead of him when a reporter came to the name “Travis Fulgham.”
Johnson is a polite young man who meant no disrespect. But the look on his face said it all. The Vikings receiver had never heard of Travis Fulgham.
C’mon, Bisi. Went to Old Dominion? Drafted by the Lions 63 spots AHEAD of you? Was inactive for three games before being cut and moved to the practice squad?
“OK,” Johnson said as he wondered where this line of questioning was leading him.
You see, Bisi, 20 teams felt the need to draft receivers back in April. You were the last of 28 selected and the second of two by the Vikings after Dillon Mitchell. So that means even your employer passed on you.
“Oh well,” he laughed.
In many cases, Johnson is getting the last laugh this season.
His 26 catches rank third among 15 receivers drafted on Day 3 (rounds 4-7) and eighth overall among drafted rookies. His 235 receiving yards rank third among Day 3 picks and 10th overall. And his three touchdown catches rank second among Day 3 picks and seventh overall.
“I don’t keep up with them too much,” Johnson said. “There are some things I get tagged on Instagram, and I see it. But I’m not too much worried about what they’re doing, honestly.
“It definitely makes me feel good. But at the same time, I’m not really trying to compare my work to theirs.”
Back to that list of names, Bisi.
How about Eagles second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside?
“He went to high school with my college quarterback, so I kind of know him,” Johnson said.
He was drafted 190 spots ahead of Johnson. He has eight catches.
How about Chicago’s Riley Ridley, a fourth-round pick of the Bears?
“Nah,” Johnson said.
Ridley was drafted 111 spots ahead of Johnson. He has one catch for 5 yards.
How about Marcus Green?
“Actually,” Johnson said, “I trained with him in Dallas.”
Green was a sixth-round pick of the Falcons. He got cut Aug. 31 and is now on the Eagles’ practice squad.
The Ravens, 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks, Redskins and Vikings all drafted multiple receivers. Arizona and Seattle both selected three wideouts.
The Seahawks connected in the second round with D.K. Metcalf. But they whiffed in the fourth and seventh rounds on Gary Jennings Jr. and Jon Ursua, respectively.
Jennings was taken 127 spots ahead of Johnson. He didn’t play in Seattle, got released last month and is now on Miami’s injured reserve.
Ursua was taken 11 spots ahead of Johnson. He’s played two snaps.
“I will say there is some luck involved with how a rookie season goes,” he said. “For me, unfortunately, [Chad] Beebe goes down. I hate to see that. That’s my dawg.
‘‘And then you have Adam [Thielen] with a hamstring injury that’s unfortunate because you see how bad he wants to be in.
“But those things bring up an opportunity for me, and I think I’ve done pretty well. I’ve done my job and a little bit more sometimes. It’s fun. It’s what I love.”
Overall, it’s been a good rookie class of receivers.
Baltimore’s Marquise Brown, the first receiver taken at 25th overall, has six touchdowns for the best team in football. Second-rounders Mecole Hardman of Kansas City and A.J. Brown of Tennessee have six touchdowns apiece and yards-per-catch averages of 20.8 and 20.0, respectively.
Metcalf is a big-bodied force in Seattle while Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh’s shifty little third-rounder, has four touchdown catches and an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Another third-rounder, Washington’s Terry McLaurin, has six touchdown catches, including Sunday’s great one-handed grab at Lambeau Field. And fifth-round Darius Slayton of the Giants leads all rookie draft picks with seven touchdown catches, including two at Philadelphia on Monday night.
Johnson also had a leaping highlight-reel touchdown catch on a 9-yard pass that quarterback Kirk Cousins threw high to avoid a Lions defender Sunday.
“I got up really high on that one,” Johnson said. “You know how adrenaline gets going and you start doing things you’ve probably never done before?”
The kind of plays a 22-year-old rookie isn’t supposed to make when his pre-draft projections fall from the fourth round to eight spots shy of Mr. Irrelevant.
“I’ve made plays like that before, where the ball kind of takes you to a higher point,” Johnson said. “I saw an opportunity in the air, and I went up there and got it.”
Mark Craig is an NFL and Vikings Insider. Twitter: @markcraigNFL. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org