The Chargers used the 21st-overall pick to select dynamic TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston. At the time of the pick, wideouts Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison — two players more often mocked to the Bolts than Johnston — were still on the board. Despite all the hype behind the latter two, the Chargers stuck to a player who is much closer to their usual size thresholds.
Was this the right pick? Only time will tell, but it’s safe to say that immediate reactions to the selection were fairly mixed.
First, let’s take a look at some of the lower grades given by analysts.
Our first grade comes via Pete Prisco from CBS Sports who gave the Chargers an average “C” for their selection of Johnston.
“They needed to get a young receiver, but I think Jordan Addison would have been a better pick. Johnson is a big receiver, but he has issues catching the football at times. I get the pick with Justin Herbert and age creeping in, but I think there were better options and maybe better positions to take.”
Chad Reuter of NFL.com gave the Chargers a better grade, but not by much. He gave the selection a “C+”, noting that this pick will forever be tied to the two receivers selected immediately after Johnston.
“The Chargers needed to add depth at receiver, so they selected one of the position’s taller top prospects in Johnston (6-foot-3, 208 pounds). His body control on the outside is impressive but his average speed and consistency as a receiver are worrisome. His career will be compared with that of the wideouts selected with the next two picks: Zay Flowers (No. 22 overall to Baltimore) and Jordan Addison (No. 23 overall to Minnesota).”
Now let’s take a look at some grades that were on the other side of the spectrum.
The entire scouting department of the33rdteam.com landed on a perfect “A+” grade for the Johnston selection, noting that he was the top receiver on their draft board heading into Thursday night.
“The Los Angeles Chargers needed to add speed on offense, and Quentin Johnston (scouting report) plays even faster than his timed speed (4.49 40-yard dash at TCU’s Pro Day). He has been a polarizing prospect throughout the process, but he is incredibly explosive and is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. He has some head-scratching plays but even more that make you say “wow.” The Chargers get the top receiver on our board. They are adding size to an already big room and a rare prospect with a high ceiling.”
We’ve got another “A+” grade up next and this one comes from Chris Trapasso, also of CBS Sports.
He said this on Twitter immediately after the pick:
21. #Chargers - Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU. Best YAC WR in the class. Big-bodied type. Not a contested-catch dominator but can flashy tremendous circus-grab ability. Explosive. Not a true separator. Love him as initially the 3rd option. Grade: A+— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) April 28, 2023
Lastly, here’s a “B-” grade from Charles McDonald of Yahoo Sports which somewhat splits the previous four grades.
“Johnston fills a need at receiver, but they could have used someone with a bit more juice as far as making plays down the field for Justin Herbert. Still, Johnston is a good receiver prospect who is a monster after the catch and profiles as a nice replacement for Keenan Allen in the long term.”
Chargers fans gave the selection a B.
Overall, depending on who watched the film and what they ultimately believe will move the needle the most for the Chargers, you’ll likely continue seeing a wide variety of grades.
If Johnston ends up being exactly what the team needs (a YAC threat with dynamic speed), then we’ll all end up sleeping soundly more often than not this season. If that’s not the case, we’ll be having a whole other conversation by this time next year.
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