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Revisiting The Chargers 2023 First Round

Revisiting Chargers 2023 First Round Selection Statline Predictions - Is He Really That Bad?
Chargers First Round

One year removed from the 2023 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Chargers initially had a very controversial draft, due to the selection of Quentin Johnston. Before the season, I predicted the stat lines of each rookie for the Bolts. As this is the first installment of each rookie being covered, Quentin Johnston is our first focus. How did my predictions stack up to what actually happened? Did Johnston really underperform that awfully?

Chargers First-Round Selection: Quentin Johnston

When initially predicting Johnston’s stat line as the first Chargers draft pick of 2023, it was understood that he would be a part of a talented offense, but in a role that is a bit limited.

“The hiring of talented offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will have the Chargers airing the ball out further down the field, and using Quentin Johnston’s speed as a big factor in the deep and underneath game. Although, it won’t be easy yardage for the first-round rookie, as he is the third receiver behind veterans Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. This combined with the fact he has Joshua Palmer breathing down his neck for snaps, won’t make it easy for Quentin Johnston to be a bonafide superstar in his first year with the Chargers.”

Predicted Statline:

  • 45 Catches
  • 725 Yards
  • 6 Touchdowns
  • 7 Drops

Actual Statline:

  • 38 Catches
  • 431 Yards
  • 2 Touchdowns
  • 3 Drops

After Season Analysis:

Initially projecting seven drops for Quentin Johnston felt very fair, due to the understanding of the project type of receiver we were getting in the first round of the Chargers draft. However, to my complete surprise, he only recorded three drops according to Pro Football Reference, and only two (!) according to Pro Football Focus. This feels misleading as nearly every fan can think of multiple drops that Johnston had during his tumultuous 2023 season. However, his earned infamy as a receiver due to his drops is not the only thing he did during the course of the season.

Moving onto more positive statistics, Johnston recorded seven fewer catches than initially expected. This was in the ballpark of what was initially predicted. However, his yardage total was completely off than what was expected. This was majorly due to a disastrous role in the offense. What was once thought of as a talented offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore did not know how to use the offensive weapon the Chargers drafted in the first round in 2023. After a deep dive into his play, it felt like it was the epitome of a “square peg, round hole.”

Johnston also did not score as often as expected, his speed and YAC ability were completely silenced in 2023, and if he wants to become the player the front office believed him to be, he must be utilized correctly, and he has to rise to the occasion when that opportunity arises.

Last Word On Quentin Johnston

It is hoped that in 2024 Quentin Johnston gets to utilize his talent. He is now under a completely different regime and offense. This offense is not the greatest fit for Johnston, but at the very least it is very apparent that they believe in QJ. General Manager, Joe Hortiz has spoken very highly of Johnston, saying:

“When you look at him, when he was coming out of college, he was an elite size/speed athlete. And you saw some rawness to his game, but you also saw the ability, for as big as he is, (6-foot-3), I think, and 220 pounds, you watch him drop his weight, getting in and out of breaks, come to balance at the top of the route, get out quickly. He can do some rare things for a player his size. (Coach) Jim (Harbaugh) was on the other sideline in one of his better games (in college), and so we’ve all seen it. We believe in it. He’s a great kid, he’s a great worker. Everyone here has a high opinion of him. I believe he’s really going to launch. I really do. His skill set is great. We’re gonna work with him, make him better and better.”

Main Photo Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports


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