American Football

2023 NFL Draft Preview: Scouting report on TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston

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2023 NFL Draft Preview: Scouting report on TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston
Set Number: X164269 TK1

Continuing to look at potential wide receiver options for the Seahawks.

As discussed last week in Jordan Addison’s scouting report, another long-term pass catcher is a must add for the Seattle Seahawks this off-season. This week we are going to break down what former TCU wideout Quentin Johnston brings to the table.


Strengths

  • His best attribute is his ability to make plays after the catch. He runs almost like a running back with the ball in his hands, bringing a thump as well as having multiple moves in his pocket to make defenders miss. Johnston is able to consistently make the first defender miss either with a sidestep or a strong stiff arm. After that he uses his elite burst and acceleration to beat defenders to the edge or run away from them entirely. When defenders are able to get to Johnston, he is often able to fight through the contact, taking multiple defenders to bring him down.
  • Johnston is light on his toes as a runner which allows him to jump, cut, and juke defenders effortlessly whilst also giving him a quicker change of direction with the ball in his hands. He has fantastic contact balance and is more often than not able to maintain his center of gravity when defenders get a piece of him but are unable to bring him down.
  • On deep balls he has the football intelligence (FBI) to use his inside arm and hand to create a little more separation through hand slaps to the defender’s arm. Johnston tracks deep shots without losing a step and he easily traces the ball over his shoulder into his hands.
  • Johnston does have the ability to make contested catches and make catches through contact.

Weaknesses

  • As a route runner Johnston is average at best and has a lot of room to get better.
  • Johnston does not have any advanced route running tendencies in terms of creating separation with hip, shoulder or head movement. Not including his release, he does not do a good job of getting defenders to commit the wrong way during the route.
  • At the stem he can be overly sloppy with his footwork. He widens his base too much at times which makes it difficult for him to explode off of one foot and get across the face of the defender.
  • Johnston ran a relatively limited route tree at TCU running mainly slants, hitches, and 7 through 9 routes. The few double moves he did run looked sloppy and choppy as he slowed down too much and created very little separation with them.
  • Johnston did not stack defenders as frequently as a player with his size and athletic profile should.
  • Johnston has above the line hands, but not far above the line. He lets the ball come to him rather than attacking it with his hands far too often. Johnston needs to do a better job of catching the ball with his hands rather than letting it come into his chest. He does have some problems with concentration drops as well.

Additional notes – I’m torn on Johnston for this Seahawks team. On one hand he’s way too similar to DK Metcalf in terms of what he brings to the table as a receiver. The best offenses are often diverse in terms of their weapons, which would not be the case with a Johnston/Metcalf tandem. Although, on the flip side, Johnston and Metcalf lining up across from or next to each other would be terrifying for a defense. It would give the Seattle pass catching group an athletic edge over just about every secondary in the league. I far prefer Addison to Johnston but something to keep in mind when it comes to debating the duo for this team is John Schneider and Pete Carroll love drafting high end athletes, so we cannot rule out Johnston being the pick at 20.


Grade – Average starter – Late first early second

Floor/ceiling – Johnston’s elite athleticism, abilities with the ball in his hands, fantastic size, toughness and ability to track the ball well give him the ceiling of one of the best receivers in the league. However, his below the line route savvy, unpolished route running, slightly above the line hands and poor blocking give him the floor of a 4th receiver.

Grade explanation – If you were to make a wide receiver in a lab, he would look a lot like Quentin Johnston. He has the physical traits and YAC ability that teams dream about with number one receivers. However, he is not a good route runner, struggles with concentration drops and needs a lot of overall refinement to his game which is why he has such a high discrepancy between his floor and ceiling. If he puts it all together, he’s a wide receiver one, but there is just as good of a chance that he winds up being a wasted day 1 or day 2 pick.


Terminology explanation

FBI – Football intelligence

Above/below the line – Most NFL teams use a grading system of 1 through 9 to grade a player’s traits. 1 being a reject, 9 being rare, so think Aaron Donald’s get off or Tyreek Hill’s play speed. A 5 is a sufficient or above the line grade on a player’s traits. A 4 is considered to be mediocre or below the line. The above or below the line difference is key when evaluating a player. If they are above the line that means at least most of the time they are going to be able to perform that particular factor i.e making a hands catch. If they are below the line, they are at best going to be able to perform that skill some of the time.


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