Obvious Chargers player highlighted in 'under most pressure' list

Los Angeles Chargers OTA Offseason Workout
Los Angeles Chargers OTA Offseason Workout / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

The LA Chargers have a lot to prove in 2024. Jim Harbaugh finally made the jump from college football back to the pros after winning the National Championship with Michigan. Harbaugh has won everywhere he has coached and the expectations are no different for the Bolts.

The team's pressure as a whole to succeed is supported by the individual pressure many players on the roster have. Big-name players like Justin Herbert, Joey Bosa and Derwin James have something extra to prove. They are looking to prove they can be the best players on a team that actually wins playoff games.

Yet those three do not have the most pressure heading into the 2024 season. Instead, many would argue that distinction belongs to second-year wide receiver Quentin Johnston. In fact, Pro Football Focus recently broke down the 10 sophomores in the NFL with the most pressure to perform this season. Johnston naturally made the list.

"Johnston displayed a very limited skill set, and the team seemed completely unable to carve him out even a limited role within the offense that played to his strengths. Overall, he averaged just 0.88 yards per route run, ranking 22nd among rookie receivers.

As a player with a draft profile that wasn’t to everybody’s tastes, Johnston enters his second season under real pressure to show that he can be effective in the NFL, even if it’s in a certain role or on a less complete route tree."

It truly is now or never for Quentin Johnston and the Chargers in 2024

It may sound harsh but the 2024 season will determine Johnston's entire future with the Chargers. With a new regime in town, there are absolutely no draft priors that will keep Johnston in LA if he cannot produce his sophomore season. If he is just as bad as he was in his rookie year then the Chargers will not hesitate to pull the plug and part ways.

That being said, Johnston is in a better situation to succeed in his second year in the league. Former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore could not figure out how to properly utilize Johnston, treating him like an X receiver after Mike Williams went down with injury.

Johnston may have the size and speed of an X receiver but he does not have the skill set. It felt like the former coaching staff was blindly looking at his measurables to shove him into a box that he did not fit in at all.

Anyone who has watched Johnston's tape knows he should operate more as a short-yardage option that can burn teams after the catch. His athleticism plays much more near the line of scrimmage where he can get the football in his hands and make guys miss.

Los Angeles seemingly could not figure that out last season but Greg Roman already has. The new Chargers' offensive coordinator made it very clear that Johnston will have a different role in his offense and it should be one that better suits Johnston's strengths.

Does this mean Johnston is due for a breakout season where he looks like one of the most promising young receivers in the league? Not at all. But he is far more likely to at least have a productive season whereas last season he was set up to fail from the start.