Quentin Johnston Draft Profile
When building an ideal body type for an X receiver, it is very likely that it resembles that of TCU wide receiver, Quentin Johnston. Johnston is Texas-bred, he was a four-star coming out of Temple high school and was originally committed to being a longhorn. He ultimately flipped his commitment to the Horned Frogs and followed it up with two first-team all BIG-12 selections. His connection with quarterback, Max Duggan, was one of the main reasons that TCU was able to make it to the national championship game. The NFL Draft is all about taking chances and when looking at a proven collegiate receiver that stands at 6’4 210 lbs, teams will ultimately want to take a chance on Quentin Johnston.
In the NFL, there are not many traits that are valued more than speed. Most NFL receivers are either big or fast, Johnston is both and that is apparent in his game. His ability to stretch the field vertically will make him a strong-armed quarterback’s best friend. When TCU needed an explosive play, Johnston is who they would go to. The way he is able to accelerate and run under the ball when it is hanging in the air is special. He has that elusive second gear that every team wants in their deep threat. His explosiveness also comes to light when the ball is in his hands; his ability to take a 5-yard slant 80-yards to the house is something that a lot of teams covet. He is a long strider, but he still has some suddenness to his game. The most nuanced part of his game is how he uses his hands to generate separation. His ability to find the defensive back’s elbows off the line of scrimmage, slap them away and then stack is impressive. When the ball is in the air, he does a good job at using an arm-bar to keep separation between him and the defender. There is no doubt that Johnston has all of the physical attributes that teams look for when trying to identify their future X-receiver.
I believe that Quentin Johnston is a better athlete than he is a receiver. What does that mean? He is big, strong, and fast, but I do not believe he has the technique to come in right away and tear the league up like we have seen the past few years. The first thing that Johnston needs to learn is how to use his physical makeup to his advantage. He has an elite frame that should allow him to box out receivers and position himself to make contested grabs, but he is not aggressive enough at the point of attack. His frame gives him more problems than solutions; at the line of scrimmage, he lacks the wiggle and upper body quickness to get off the press. He gives defensive backs his chest which makes him susceptible to press and throws off the rhythm of the play. When looking at his feet, he false steps nearly every play. While he has the speed to outrun defensive backs, he lacks control over his speed. That prevents him from being able to break down at the top of his routes on hitches, comebacks, and anything where he needs to redirect towards the quarterback. This gives defensive backs time to recover, even if they are in a poor position. When evaluating receivers, the first thing I always look for is HOW they catch the football. Whether it is unnecessarily jumping when the ball is coming to him or letting it get to his body; I don’t believe Johnston’s hands are natural. Johnston’s preferred release is the “hop step” that Davante Adams made popular. Unlike Adams, Johnston doesn’t have the lower body coordination to plant his feet quicker than the defensive back’s punch. If he is able to align is upper and lower body to get off the line with more ease, Johnston will be able to use his speed more effectively. Johnston has a lot of work to do, but his pure athleticism is going to give him a chance to be special in the NFL.
When it comes to projects at the receiver position, it will be hard to find a more enticing one than Johnston. He is a piece of clay that needs the right sculptor. In Carolina, I believe Shawn Jefferson the receivers coach for the Panthers would be the right guy for the job. His raw ability reminds me of Alec Pierce from last year’s draft, a player who did well in Frank Reich’s system. Johnston’s ability to stretch the defense is going to get him drafted somewhere in the first round, but I believe his lack of fluidity and natural hands will stunt his growth. I personally have a late third to early fourth round, but I understand why he will most likely go much higher.
Separation Skills: 7/10
Hands + Catch Radius: 6.75/10
Route Running: 7/10
Physicality + Play Strength: 6.5/8
Body Control + Movement Skills: 6.5/8
After the Catch: 5/6
Short-Area Quickness: 3.75/5
Competitiveness + Intelligence + Effort: 3.75/5
Final Rating: 77
Projected Position: X
Pro Comparison: Alec Pierce
Draft Projection: Late First - Early Second
Draft Grade: Late Third - Early Fourth
Team Fits: Panthers, Saints, Chiefs