Well, it’s that time of year again. The holidays may be over, but man does it feel like Christmas morning all over again. Diving into incoming rookie profiles and debating over this and that, making our best guesses as to what player may or may not make an impact at the next level, and having literally no idea if we are correct or not is something I look forward to every year.
One of the hottest commodities you can possess as a dynasty manager are young wide receivers. Many people choose to build their entire teams around them, and we have a fun one to discuss in this article… possibly the WR1 of the draft class, Quentin Johnston. He looks like everything you would want in a receiver… let’s dive in.
Coming out of high school, Johnston was a pretty darn good prospect. He was a 4 star recruit and the 14th ranked WR overall and 71st national prospect (via 247 Sports). He got a decent amount of offers from some solid schools.
He received offers from Virginia Tech, Tulsa, Duke, Houston, Oklahoma, Texas, and TCU. He originally committed to the University of Texas in the summer of 2019. He would later de-commit in December of 2019 and ended up signing his letter of intent to play football at TCU.
Courtesy of Sports Reference.
Like most true freshmen, it started out slow for him. He played in 8 games, and caught 22 passes for 487 yards and two touchdowns. One thing that you could tell right away though, was that he was a deep ball threat. Averaging over 22 YPC as a freshman is very impressive.
He started to breakout during his sophomore season. He ended up only playing in eight games due to injuries, but he still received First-Team All Big 12 honors. He caught 33 passes for 634 yards and six touchdowns. If you project that out to a 13 game season, that comes to a statline of 54 – 1,030 – 10, all while being on a team that wasn’t very good (TCU finished 5-7). You can see why he received honors that year even while missing time.
Then we get to his junior year in 2022. Johnston clearly became Max Duggan’s favorite target in 2021, so we expected big things out of Johnston in 2022. While his season was very solid, we may have been left wanting a bit more. He finished the season with 60 receptions for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns.
At times, Johnston would look like the best player on the field. He went 14 – 206 -1 against Kansas, 8 – 180 – 1 against Oklahoma State, 4 – 139 against Kansas state, and had a monster game in the semi-final against Michigan with six catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. It’s everything you would want and more. But then, you watch other games and he completely disappears. Over the first four games of the season, he had a total of 12 catches for 114 yards and no touchdowns. He also ended the season with possibly the worst game of his entire life, grade school through college. A one catch, three yard effort against Georgia. Not what you want from a WR1 and potential top 10 NFL pick.
This is the aspect where Johnston shines. He is 6’4” and weighs 215 lbs. Our best guess is he will run somewhere in the low-mid 4.4’s, and possibly a 40+ inch vertical leap. Those numbers scream… “NFL STAR”.
- Excellent downfield runner. Stops and accelerates at the right times.
- Size/speed combo might be best in 2023 class.
- For a taller receiver, is dynamic after the catch.
- Long arms aid in very large catch radius.
- Willing and able run blocker, engages cornerbacks well down the field.
- Uses hands well, makes tough catches look routine.
- Creates separation well.
- Limited route tree. Wasn’t asked to run a diverse amount of routes while at TCU.
- With how good TCU and Duggan were in 2022, he lacked the production and junior leap we all expected.
- Struggled to exploit and find the openings in zone coverage.
- 8 drops in 2022. To be honest, I can’t tell if it is a “hands” thing or a “focus” thing. Either way, it’ll need to be fixed at the next level.
Courtesy of NFL Mock Draft Database.
Johnston hasn’t quite had the same name recognition over the last year or two like Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Jordan Addison have. But I would not be surprised to see him be the first WR taken during the NFL draft if he tests well during interviews and the on-field portion of the combine.
In past years, we have normally seen the first wide receiver get drafted around the 7th-12th pick in the NFL draft. That is about where I would peg him as well. No team inside the top 10 currently has WR as their top need, but that doesn’t mean a team couldn’t draft him. Likely spots if teams stay put could be Tennessee at #11, the Texans at #12, or the Patriots at #14. Unless something goes horribly wrong I would expect Johnston to be a top 15 NFL draft pick moving forward.
Now the good part… What does this mean for dynasty purposes? I’ll break this into two parts depending on the type of league you are in. SuperFlex or 1QB.
In a Superflex league, there will most likely be some slam dunk, no brainer picks. A certain RB from Texas will most likely be the 1.01, even in SF leagues. Bryce Young will be the 2nd pick in dynasty rookie drafts, but then after that, it could get interesting. Much of it will depend on where Will Levis and CJ Stroud end up getting selected. If they both end up being top 10 NFL picks, then they could very well go number three and four in your rookie draft.
You then get into the next tier of non-QB players, and that is where Johnston will enter the party. Again, much of this will depend on the landing spot and draft capital, but how you view JSN, Addison, and Johnston is very much up in the air right now. Throw Jahmyr Gibbs and maybe even Zach Evans in that mix and things start to get fun. All in all, I could see Johnston being as high as the 5th rookie pick, and I could see him drop to somewhere around pick 10 as well. According to our Superflex Rookie Rankings, Johnston comes in at number seven.
Transition over to a 1QB league, and Johnston will obviously go ahead of any QB. According to DLF’s 1QB Dynasty Rookie Rankings, Johnston is pegged at 5th overall. If he gets drafted really high and tests really well, I could possibly see him at the 1.02, I could also see him drop all the way to 1.07 or 1.08.
If he can figure out how to be more consistent and not disappear during games, I think Johnston could have a very bright future. There is still a lot of time before the draft and anything can happen.
Buckle up ya’ll.
- Levi Chappell: Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Explained - February 24, 2023
- 2023 Dynasty Rookie Early Look: Josh Downs, WR North Carolina - January 23, 2023
- 2023 Dynasty Rookie Early Look: Quentin Johnston, WR TCU - January 14, 2023