The Los Angeles Chargers continued supporting their franchise centerpiece by drafting yet another weapon for quarterback Justin Herbert. On Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the front office tabbed wide receiver Quentin Johnston as the perfect fit within the offense. So far in training camp, the TCU product has made his presence felt.
Quentin Johnston already proving doubters wrong at Chargers training camp
With each passing day, a new clip surfaces of Johnston cooking his defender and hauling in passes deep downfield. Elite ball tracking was a frequent trait on his college tape, along with long strides that help him create separation from the cornerback.
What makes Johnston particularly intriguing in 2023 is the addition of Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator. For all his faults in Dallas, Moore was never shy to stretch defenses vertically. Taking shots downfield is something the offense lacked under former coordinator Joe Lombardi, as Chargers fans know all too well.
More good news for Johnston: He will share the field with reliable veterans Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Opposing defenders will be forced to focus on these two proven wideouts, allowing the rookie pass catcher to take advantage of a lack of attention.
Allen’s proficient route running and chain-moving prowess gives Herbert a safety blanket of sorts, along with the always-productive Austin Ekeler out of the backfield. Williams typically attacks opponents vertically and thrives in jump ball scenarios. In a perfect world, Johnston will be a blend of both styles.
Johnston isn’t perfect, but he has all the traits to find success in the NFL
He could stand to add more routes to his tree, as well as limiting some wasted motion as he works downfield. Johnston separates well from the slot but doesn’t always succeed vs. press coverage on the outside. Luckily for him, and the Chargers, Moore is a maestro at scheming up separation.
In the team’s preseason opener over the weekend, Johnston hauled in three of his six targets, including a nine-yard touchdown from the slot. His presence alone caused mismatches for the Rams’ defense, even without Herbert suiting up.
At 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, while boasting a 40.5-inch vertical jump, the first-year player has all the traits to be a star on Sundays. He landed in the dream scenario for a young wide receiver with steady veterans to learn from, a promising play caller, and one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. All signs are trending upward for the Bolts’ new pass catcher.