2023 NFL Draft Stock Watch: Quentin Johnston Has Breakout Game

2023 NFL Mock Draft, Quentin Johnston. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
2023 NFL Mock Draft, Quentin Johnston. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston had a fantastic game against Kansas, and that breakout game could boost his 2023 NFL Draft stock.

The wide receiver position is one that feels a bit more wide open for the 2023 NFL Draft than it did just six weeks ago. Many believed (including this writer) that it would be a battle between Kayshon Boutte and Jaxon Smith-Njigba for the title of WR1 in 2023.

Instead, it’s become more murky as to who grabs the top spot. Jordan Addison has been off to a fantastic start with USC, and he’s currently the favorite. But, here comes TCU’s Quentin Johnston, fresh off a 14-catch, 206-yard performance against Kansas, where he also caught the winning touchdown. His stock is moving.

At 6’4″ and 212 pounds, Johnston has the elite size to be a true “X” receiver. The combination of size and speed is dangerous for defenses, as he has the ability to stack to win vertically, and also has the catch point skill set to high point the ball, dominate said catch point, and the catch radius to make plays away from his frame.

A rebuttal to this could (of course) be that just because he’s big and fast, doesn’t mean he’s anything but a vertical plane receiver. This isn’t true, mostly due to the twitch and burst in short areas that Johnston has. That aforementioned twitch gives him the ability to win off the line of scrimmage quickly and win against man coverage on slant routes and in-breakers.

However, where it stood out the most against Kansas, and helped lead to his dominant performance, is what happened when the ball was in his hands. Quentin Johnston has great attack-to-conversion skills as a post-catch threat. What that means is that while the ball is still in the air, Johnston is setting up his feet to take advantage of the space that’s given to him, and it helps him manipulate defenders and use that space to the fullest.

Because his feet are already set up, he can use his head and shoulders to move the defender where he wants to, and he has the twitch and contact balance to make defenders miss and shake off a tackle in space. Once that first defenders misses, it’s a track meet. Johnston can accelerate in a blink of an eye, and that ability to pick up chunk plays after the catch is needed in today’s NFL.

In a weaker receiving class, Quentin Johnston has the tools to potentially be the WR1 in the 2023 NFL Draft. His combination of size, speed, twitch, and catch-to-attack conversion are traits teams will covet. If he puts together a few more big performances, others will likely jump on board.