The 2023 NFL Draft is just over two months away and the mock drafts have already started rolling out. As a team that is crunched up against the salary cap this offseason, the draft is extremely important for the LA Chargers.
Los Angeles needs to avoid what it did last year in drafting prospects that were raw and not yet NFL ready. The team is not going to be able to find an instant playmaker in every round but they need to find players who can contribute in year one.
The most important of the selections is obviously the team's first-round pick and the experts are split on who the Bolts might take. NFL Draft guru Daniel Jeremiah, who also does color commentary for the Chargers' radio broadcasts, recently released his second mock draft of the offseason and has the Bolts taking the biggest boom-or-bust wide receiver prospect in the class.
Chargers draft Quentin Johnston in latest mock draft.
If you are unfamiliar with TCU's Quentin Johnston and just look at a highlight reel of his best plays then you are going to be blown away. If everything pans out for Johnston, he has all the physical tools to be an elite receiver at the NFL level.
Johnston is six-four, long, and is expected to run a 4.3 40-yard dash at this year's NFL Combine. Not only does he have a unique blend of size and speed but he is also fantastic with the football in his hands in making defenders miss.
Johnston is a weird situation as he has the make-up of a smaller, shifty receiver but has the size of a contested-catch, jump-ball specialist. However, that is actually the area in which Johnston struggles the most in. His contested-catch ability is a real concern as he not only struggled to make contested catches but also was prone to get shut down in press coverage when corners used their physicality.
If used properly, the unique blend of size and speed will definitely play in the NFL but his ceiling as a receiver is directly dependent on how he can handle the physicality of the NFL level. If he cannot become better at the catch point and is struggling against man then teams will be able to mute his athleticism fairly easily.
But that might be why the Chargers are a potentially great fit for him. There are other weapons on the offense that teams have to worry about, allowing Johnston to get by as the third or fourth receiving option. He can play more slot in LA and learn to play through the NFL style without being the no. 1 option on a bad team.
That is a far better situation than Johnston in the long term than it would be if he was the WR1 on a bad team like the Chicago Bears.
If Johnston proves to be coachable and learns from the best contested-catch artist in the game (Mike Williams), then he has a legitimate, elite, WR1 ceiling. If not, then Johnston could be another example of an insanely-gifted athlete that may not pan out.