LOS ANGELES — The Chargers offense has been missing one key element, speed. Luckily, only one wide receiver had been selected when it was their turn at 21, so they went with TCU receiver Quentin Johnston.
He is a big receiver at 6’3, almost the same build as Mike Williams, but Johnston has speed. For his size, a player shouldn’t be able to move the way he does.
“Being a six-foot-four, taller receiver that is able to create real separation at the line, as well at the top of the route,” Johnston said. “Then, what I can do with the ball in my hands is something that, I feel like, it’s a no-brainer for somebody to pick me.”
A no-brainer indeed if Johnston becomes that next big-time weapon for the Chargers. He comes into an experienced receiver room that features Keenan Allen, Williams, and Joshua Palmer.
The room was missing speed, and the Chargers added a 4.46-4.49 speed with the size of a basketball player.
“That’s huge,” Johnston explained. “Obviously, that’s a great receiving room. So, it’s going to be good for me. So, I can go in early kind of pick up a lot of knowledge from those guys and apply it to my game.”
Johnston has been compared to Sidney Rice and Alshon Jeffery, but his addition means more firepower for quarterback Justin Herbert.
“That’s a great quarterback to be playing under,” Johnston said. “So, I shouldn’t have any problem coming in earlier, adjusting, soaking up as much stuff as I can from him as far as just football in general.”
Johnston had four big games last season with TCU, but none was bigger than his performance against Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl. He caught six balls for 163 yards and a touchdown. The Wolverines are known for their defense, so his numbers are impressive.
His yard after catch is a big topic of conversation about the TCU product. Last season, he averaged 8.9 yards after catch per reception. That is something that has been missing for the Chargers offense.
The TCU first-round draft pick said multiple times that he wants to be a sponge. He wants to soak up the knowledge that Allen, Williams, or Herbert can give him to learn to be a better NFL player.
“To walk in a room with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, you can’t get much better than that,” Telesco explained. “He’s still really young, got a lot of learning to do, especially at that position. But to step in and watch guys who’ve done it at a high level that are really mastered their craft. I think it’s really going to help him.”
There are some negatives about him, which are that he tends to drop passes. According to PFF, Johnston had a drop rate of 11.8% last season, which hurts. The Chargers coaching staff will need to work with him in that area.
“There’s very few guys that are that high speed to have that type of productivity again, outside the red line, and then after the catch,” Staley explained. “So, there were a couple of drops in the embrace and stuff like that. But it was definitely it wasn’t a concern for us.”
Day two should be interesting, as the Chargers could go any way, especially with names like Joey Porter Jr., Michael Mayer, Brian Branch, and Cam Smith still on the board. On day one, though, they got their receiver.