Los Angeles Chargers top pick Quentin Johnston reportedly buried on depth chart before Week 1

Los Angeles Chargers receiver Quentin Johnston

The Los Angeles Chargers drafted wide receiver Quentin Johnston with the 21st overall pick hoping he could become a big-play threat in Kellen Moore’s offense. While expectations for the former TCU star are still high, Johnston reportedly might not play as much of a role earlier on.

Johnston, a two-time All-Big 12 selection, was one of the best wide receivers in college football last season. The 21-year-old proved to be explosive with the football in his hands, making a plethora of plays deep and turning short catches into 40-plus yard gains.

  • Quentin Johnston preseason stats: 3 receptions, 37 receiving yards, 12.3 yards per catch

Those skills at 6-foot-2 are exactly why Los Angeles drafted Johnston. While he had issues with drops in college and isn’t a refined route-runner, the TCU alum was meant to provide the Chargers’ offense with a field stretcher and game-breaker as it welcomes in Moore as the new play-caller.

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However, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic, Johnston is currently fourth on the depth chart behind Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer.

“The Chargers drafted Johnston in the first round in April. But through training camp, Palmer has been earning more first-team reps in three-receiver packages alongside Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Johnston is still in the very early stages of his development and has struggled with drops. His role early in the season will be geared toward specific concepts that allow him to play fast. Palmer, meanwhile, has the full trust of quarterback Justin Herbert and the coaching staff. He has been a regular playmaker in training camp.”

Daniel Popper on Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Quentin Johnton

Palmer, the 77th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, hasn’t been especially productive in his career. Across two seasons, the 6-foot-1 wideout has produced 1,122 receiving yards on 105 receptions in 33 games. Last season, he made 11 starts and finished with 769 receiving yards.

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  • Quentin Johnston college stats: 60 receptions, 1,069 receiving yards, 17.8 yards per catch

While Johnston being fourth on the Chargers’ depth chart isn’t a long-term concern, it significantly diminishes the potential for him to produce quality numbers this season.

Even when he sees the field, the rookie wideout will find himself behind Allen, Williams and Austin Ekeler for targets and likely would be the fifth-most targeted player in the offense. Ultimately, Johnson will likely be one of the least productive first-round picks in the first two months of the season.

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