One underlooked aspect of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2-5 record following their loss to the New York Giants is that they’re on track to clinch a top 10 pick in the 2023 NFL draft. While the Jags would certainly choose wins over a favorable spot in the draft, they could certainly give Trevor Lawrence more weapons, which is precisely what they did in CBS Sports’ latest mock.
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports has Jacksonville taking TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston with the ninth overall pick in his mock draft. He points out that Johnston’s “tall, athletic, super-fast, and freaky” frame would be of huge help for Lawrence and the Jaguar’s offense. Trapasso doesn’t go into details but he isn’t the only analyst that thinks highly of the Horned Frog.
Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus recently published a midseason draft big board and guess who’s their No. 1 receiver? That’s right, Johnston got the top spot in their rankings. Here’s what Renner had to say about the TCU standout.
"In nine years of college grading, I can say with certainty we have not seen a wide receiver quite like Johnston. At a rangy 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he’s a terror with the ball in his hands. His broken-tackle rate over his career is unlike anything we’ve graded, with 40 forced missed tackles on 89 career receptions. That’s what you’d expect from a receiver with a running back-esque build like Deebo Samuel, not a pterodactyl-like Johnston."
Johnston had always had potential but it wasn’t put on display until recently. A three-star prospect coming out of high school, the Texas native was mostly used in gadget plays early in the 2022 season and had just 12 receptions for 104 yards and no touchdowns in the first four games. However, he’s seen an uptick in production the last three weeks, hauling in 38 receptions for a monster 460 yards with three touchdowns. Given Johnston’s recent success, he will most likely continue to be featured on TCU’s offense for the remainder of the year.
Quentin Johnston would give the Jaguars yet another weapon in 2023
The Jags signed Christian Kirk and Zay Jones in free agency but neither is a bonafide No. 1 receiver nor has Johnston’s frame and athleticism. Moreover, Marvin Jones Jr. is set to become a free agent next season and even though the Jaguars’ brass would love to have him back, they might be working with a tight budget, which makes a potential return doubtful.
Sure, most of Jacksonville’s position groups could use an upgrade, maybe a left guard, another pass rusher and/or a safety. Similarly, Evan Engram, Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz are scheduled to hit the open market, so the Jaguars will probably need to replenish their tight end room. That makes Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer an enticing option in next year’s draft. However, Johnston could take the offense to another level.
Having said that, things are still fluid. There are still 10 games left in the season and the Jaguars’ position in the 2023 draft could change if they start winning. Just two years ago, they were on track to get the second overall selection but ended up clinching the top pick in the 2021 player selection meeting, which they then used on Trevor Lawrence.
The Jaguars could easily improve their position in the draft in the upcoming weeks. Conversely, they could move down a few spots if they start winning. Either way, they need to strongly consider the idea of landing Johnston next year.