Heading into the 2023 NFL draft, Quentin Johnston was a consensus top-five wide receiver in the class. The top guys like Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, and Jaxon Smith-Njiba were all expected to be phenomenal players at the next level and it was simply going to come down to which “flavor” teams wanted in their wideouts.
For the Chargers, they chose to stick with their pass-catchers being on the sizable side of the spectrum paired with some elite athleticism. Johnston ended up being just the guy for them.
Now despite being graded very high across the board, one of the common red flags brought up in regards to Johnston was his inconsistency at catching the ball with his hands as opposed to snagging it against his body. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein made a note of this on Johnston’s draft profile, saying that “doesn’t meet throws with desired arm extension.”
Well, the Chargers social media team had heard enough of this sentiment throughout the draft process and they couldn’t wait to fire off a retort when given the chance.
During one of the team’s recent OTA workouts, Johnston made a phenomenal one-handed grab in the back of the end zone which the social team wasted little time in turning it into their next hilarious Twitter post.
bUt hE dOeSn'T cAtCh WiTh HiS hAnDs pic.twitter.com/euaZBgKbX2— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) May 31, 2023
Of course, it’s okay to remind ourselves this is all being done in shorts and helmets, but it’s also okay to show optimism towards the team’s newest first-round pick. The first step to actually doing this in a game is obviously being able to do it during practice, so it’s a start all the same!
On that same note, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore took to the podium earlier this week where he fielded a ton of questions, including one on his early impressions of Johnston.
Here’s what he had to say:
“Obviously, the physical component of it is really evident, just his ability to make plays. From a physical standpoint; size, height, weight, speed. His range catching the football, when you get out here on the field and you start seeing him catch passes, his range is really, really tremendous. I think the other thing that we’ve, obviously, highlighted is his ability to make plays after the catch. I think you can certainly see that, his suddenness, to get in and out of brakes once he catches the ball, the transitioning into a runner, I think that will be really big for him.”
The one line I’d like to highlight from this quote is where Moore talks about Johnston’s catch range. Obviously that means the range at which he can snag a ball out of the air with his arms fully-extended, meaning it’s likely Johnston has been doing enough of that to be catching Moore’s eye. That’s a good sign, if so.
Or it could just be coach-speak.
Until the pads are on, we’ll have to wait and see for ourselves. Either way, it’s looking like a great early start for QJ as a member of the Chargers.