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Quentin Johnston draft profile: Scouting report, 40 time and NFL projection

TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston is the best wide receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft. While there are plenty of criticisms of his game you’ll find on scouting reports, no other receiving prospect in 2023 can match Johnston’s upside.

Johnston was truly more of an afterthought on the national radar a year ago. Despite being one of the fastest players in college football, Johnston was under-utilized by Gary Patterson’s outdated offense. The hiring of head coach Sonny Dykes changed everything for TCU and Johnston’s future.

Checking off all the boxes on scouting reports for a prototypical No. 1 receiver in the NFL, here is everything you need to know about Johnston.

Quentin Johnston measurables

  • Quentin Johnston height: 6-foot-3
  • Quentin Johnston weight: 208 pounds
  • Quentin Johnston 40 time: N/A

Let’s dive into our Quentin Johnston scouting report and NFL projection.

Quentin Johnston stats and background

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Quentin Johnston arrived at TCU as a four-star recruit in 2020, rated by 247 Sports as the 71st-best prospect in the country. In a class of wide receiver recruits that included Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Kayshon Boutte and Julian Fleming, Johnston emerged as the best of them all.

Johnston made some splash plays in his freshman season. He led the Horned Frogs in receiving yards (487), despite finishing second on receptions (22) for a team that completed just 164 attempts. The signs of the receiver he would became showed up in December 2021, when he erupted for 247 receiving yards in two games vs Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State.

Quentin Johnston statsReceptionsRec. YardsTDsYPC
202133612618.5
2022601,069617.8
Quentin Johnston statistics via CFR

Johnston earned first-team All-Big 12 honors for the first time in 2021. He led the team in receiving yards for the second consecutive year, turning 33 receptions into 612 yards and six touchdowns. While Johnston’s volume fell well short of his peers, he ranked 15th in the FBS in yards per catch (18.5) among receivers with 30-plus receptions.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft rumors

The arrival of head coach Sonny Dykes changed everything for both Johnston and the Horned Frogs. Suddenly, an offense that attempted no more than 310 passes in a season (2020-’21) transformed into Max Duggan completing 267-of-419 attempts for nearly 3,700 yards.

Johnston thrived in the expanded role. After narrowly eclipsing 600 receiving yards the previous year, Johnston surpassed that total by mid-October this past season. The 1,000-year season earned him his second first-team All-Big 12 selection and significantly elevated Johnston’s stock in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Statistics courtesy of College Football ReferenceESPN, and Pro Football Focus

Quentin Johnston scouting report

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are few players in football, including the NFL, more electrifying with the football in their hands than Quentin Johnston. He’s one of the rare players capable of delivering a 200-yard performance, his athleticism and size makes him that dangerous of an offensive weapon.

Johnston is truly a special athlete and it’s evident on the field. He ranked 10th in the FBS in yards after catch per reception (8.9), finished fifth among qualified receivers in yards per route run (3.05) and he generated 18 forced missed tackles as a junior.

Johnston creates separation from coverage with relative ease and that ability to get open quickly will make him a quarterback’s friend. What truly separates him from every other receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft class is his playmaking.

Furthermore, he ranked 24th in the nation in yards per reception vs man coverage (15.5) with the third-highest yards after catch per reception (10.3) vs man coverage. 

At 6-foot-4, Johnston, Johnston moves in the open field like All-Pro receivers. He can outrun just about any defensive back that’s on the field, offers the fluidity and agility to evade defenders near him and it all makes his run-after-catch ability outstanding. One could even argue playing with Duggan, an inaccurate quarterback, helped Johnston learned how to adjust his body to make difficult catches and his wide catch radius is also evident on 50-50 balls.

Those are all of the qualities that make Johnston a potential top-10 talent in 2023 and could lead to him becoming one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL years from now. However, there are also plenty of instances where his physical talent and athleticism are wasted.

Johnston’s production and impact were extremely volatile this past season. In 14 games, he finished under 50 receiving yards seven times and failed to eclipse 80 receiving yards in 10 contests this past season.

  • Quentin Johnston vs Kansas, Michigan, Ok-State, K-State: 688 yards, 21.5 ypc
  • Quentin Johnston vs 8 other opponents: 381 receiving yards, 13.6 yards per catch

Drops are also a big problem for Johnston. He had as many contested catches as drops (eight) and his 11.8 percent drop rate was the 11th-highest in the FBS and is the sixth-worst drop rate among 2023 wide receiver prospects.

The other remaining concern with Johnston is what happens to him when he faces more physical cornerbacks. Look at the Georgia Bulldogs game, when he finished with just 3 receiving yards. If a cornerback gets physical with him in press-man coverage, Johnston gets thrown off his route. It also shows up when he goes vertical and a defender gets into his body. Improving in these areas will make him a bonafide No. 1 receiver.

  • Quentin Johnston draft grade: 84/100
  • Quentin Johnston NFL Draft projection: Top-15

NFL projection for Quentin Johnston

NFL: Combine
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While there is bust potential with every NFL Draft prospect, it might be slightly higher with Johnston. The inconsistency in college and his issues with drops are red flags that, if not corrected, could turn a top-10 pick into a gadget player.

However, there are plenty of examples around the NFL of star wide receivers who started their careers with concerns surrounding their ability to snag the football. In many cases, they made the necessary improvements and Johnston can be the next success story.

If everything goes right, Johnston can deliver multiple 1,000-yard seasons during the prime of his NFL career and he could be a perennial Pro Bowl selection. He’s the only wide receiver prospect who projects to become a No. 1 option in a passing attack. The risk of things not working out is still worth investing a top-15 pick into Johnston because of his upside.

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