How Quentin Johnston fits with the Chargers' WR group | PFF 2023 NFL Draft Show

The Pro Football Focus live draft show breaks down Los Angeles' decision to grab the former TCU WR with the 21st pick in this year's draft.

Video transcript

SAM MONSON: You end up looking at the skill set that he does have, which is size, straight line speed, the ability to catch a ball, turn upfield, and make explosive plays happen, and that's valuable. Even if he never figures out how to be a good player at the catch point or how to go up and moss people and take advantage of the fact that he's bigger and longer than most of the guys he's going up against.

If he never gets that, the things he is good at is still valuable to the point where you can't drop him too far down your rankings. And for a team like the Chargers, that already have a couple of good wide receivers and a pretty extensive skill set in the building, that they can tap into that.

CRIS COLLINSWORTH: But those guys were hurt all year last year.


CRIS COLLINSWORTH: I mean, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, they were just hurt all year. And the run that they had a chance to make just got killed because one of the two of them, or both of them, were out of the lineup, like, just too much. They just couldn't make it up.

STEVE PALAZZOLO: That makes for match-up problems for the defense. That's my biggest goal, right, on offense? I need to create mismatches for the defense. So now with the size that Mike Williams brings, when healthy, the size that Quentin Johnston brings, Keenan Allen in the slot, when healthy, even Donald Parham, massive tight end, right? I mean, they can create mismatches.

The thing about-- Johnston grew on me the more I was watching corners going against him. And I was like, oh, he's running by guys, or he's whopping Julius Brents from Kansas State on a slant. He has enough of those plays where he just looks really good that, to me, it might offset the fact that, yeah, he's not great at the catchpoint. He caught 35% of his contested catches at 6'3", where he should be good at that. That should be a skill, but it wasn't.

- I don't-- I'll say this about Quentin Johnston. I think I liked him more than a lot of other people did. And I believe lack of consistency at quarterback play really went into what we think about this guy.

I think if you put him on a lot of other teams in the country-- which is crazy to say because TCU made the national championship, right? It's crazy to say. But I think if you put him on a different team with a more consistent quarterback, we would be talking about a player who we're very comfortable taking in the top 25 in an NFL draft.

He's big. He's tall. He's got unique yard-after-the-catch ability. No, his contested catches weren't as consistent as you would want from a big man. But within those contested catches that I saw, that he did complete, there are just traits where I go, that was natural for you. I could see you repeating that. I don't think he's just super clunky and lucks into the contested catches.

So maybe I'm just a believer in the highs that I've seen him from the catch-- from the catchpoint perspective. But I even think that can be better at the NFL level, as crazy as that is with the strength profile going up against NFL competition.

STEVE PALAZZOLO: We also make the point a lot about receivers. If a guy just has strengths, you can play to strengths. If they have weaknesses, you can hide weaknesses. It's not like offensive tackle. You can't play tackle with weaknesses. They get attacked. Like, if you can't run block, that's half your snaps, right? If you can't pass block, that's half your snaps.

- That's a good point.

STEVE PALAZZOLO: If you play to Quinton Johnston's strengths, let him be a vertical threat, run slants, kind of use them the way Seattle used DK Metcalf, he's your third option as a starting point as we let him develop, there's some value there, I think, for the Chargers.