NFL Draft Prospect Profile: TCU WR Quentin Johnston

We all know the recent history of drafting TCU wide receivers, especially in the first round. Since 2000, only Jeremy Kerley has surpassed 600 yards receiving in a season, while former first round picks Josh Doctson and Jalen Reagor both failed to finish out their rookie contracts with the teams that drafted them. Doctson was released just before his fourth year in the league, while Reagor was traded around the same time last year. The latest Horned Frog to attempt to erase the dreadful history of receivers out of Fort Worth is junior wideout Quentin Johnston.

Johnston was a consensus four-star wide receiver out of Temple High School (Texas) in the Class of 2020. After initially committing to Texas before his senior year, Johnston would eventually flip to TCU after the dismissal of Longhorns wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer. With Reagor leaving for the NFL, a spot at the top of the depth chart was wide open for the taking.

Johnston earned a starting role in Fort Worth immediately as a freshman, leading the team with 487 receiving yards and earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. As a sophomore, he would earn first-team All-Big 12 honors after leading the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Then, this past year, Johnston lead the Horned Frogs in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns en route to his second straight year on the All-Big 12 first team. Over his three-year career at TCU, Johnston totaled 115 catches for 2,190 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Among the other top receiver prospects, Johnston reigns as the biggest of the bunch, establishing himself physically as a potential WR1. His size obviously assists him, with length and strength inherent in his frame, but it doesn’t keep him from being as agile as the smaller receivers in the draft. Johnston used his burst and acceleration to rank second in the nation in yards after catch per reception. His combination of size and elusiveness make him one of the tougher receivers to bring down after the catch. Before the catch, he has great awareness to track the ball and use his leaping ability and body control to make grabs.

The biggest problem showing up on Johnston’s film is drops. Whether it’s a lack of confidence in his hands that results in inconsistent body-catching or a lack of focus as he fails to secure the ball before turning his eyes upfield to run, drops plagued Johnston in 2022. Luckily, drops have been a bit of an issue for the rest of the receivers expected to be first-rounders, as well, making his eight drops hurt a little less. Boston College’s Zay Flowers surpassed Johnston with nine drops of his own this year. Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba dropped six passes in his only full season of play. USC’s Jordan Addison only had two this year but had 21 during his two years at Pittsburgh. Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt may be the exception of the group, with only eight drops in his collegiate career, but five of those came in 2022.

Looking past the drops, Johnston has only a few other things to work on. Tight hips and a lack of variety at TCU mean that he has some work to do on route-running. Also, despite his size, Johnston didn’t have the best track record with contested catches.

Plenty of teams have done their homework on Johnston. So far, in the pre-draft process, Johnston has met with or planned to meet with the Giants, Ravens, Chiefs, Cowboys, Cardinals, Falcons, Vikings, Jaguars, and Titans. Basically, any team looking to add some size to their receiving corps has done some research on Johnston.

The 21-year-old makes a lot of sense for that purpose. The disastrous history of TCU wideouts going pro and Johnston’s drops will be overlooked fairly easily. Not only will teams overlook them because of his size but because he uses his athleticism to blend that size congruously with speed and strength. He’s almost certain to hear his name on Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft later this month, but at what point in the night he is selected has yet to be determined.

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