Jaguars Draft: Should WR Quentin Johnston be the pick at No. 24 if available?
The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently in the process of interviewing prospects ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. So far, they've only hosted or are scheduled to meet with one wide receiver, TCU's Quentin Johnston, which isn't surprising when you take into account how loaded they are at the position. Nevertheless, the Jags must be prepared in case Johnston is available at No 24 and if he is, should he be the pick?
Johnston has outstanding size and athleticism for the position. Despite the fact that he didn't put up great numbers on the Horned Frogs' offense, he routinely showcased the ability to take over games. Conversely, his biggest flaw, dropping the football, was also on display. But in spite of that, he consistently stretched the field and made big plays once he secured the football, averaging 7.7 yards after the catch and forcing 43 missed tackles on 108 receptions.
Even though Jaxon Smith-Njigba seems to be the consensus top receiver in this year's draft, Johnston has consistently remained No. 1 in Pro Football Focus' position rankings.
One big reason for that is that Johnston averaged 18.8 yards per catch at TCU. Similarly, he was second on PFF's list of threats after the catch, which begs the question, should the Jaguars take him even though receiver isn't a pressing need?
Quentin Johnston would be a deep threat for the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Christian Kirk and Zay Jones last offseason and they both went on to play crucial roles down the stretch. The Jags also traded for Calvin Ridley before last year's deadline. Ridley was serving an indefinite suspension at the time of the traded but has been reinstated and cleared to partake in all team-related activities.
With Ridley joining Kirk and Jones, there won't be many targets left for other skilled position players besides tight end Evan Engram, who got the franchise tag. If Jacksonville decides to draft a receiver in the first or second round, he wouldn't probably see the field often in his rookie year unless injuries struck.
Having said that, the Jaguars could invest a draft pick in a receiver in case they can't keep Ridley, who is set to become a free agent next offseason. Johnston could redshirt in his rookie season and get a bigger role in 2024. Then again, general manager Trent Baalke can't afford to overlook the defense on the draft.
Even though the Jaguars' defense ranked 12th in points surrendered, they gave up yards in chunks and ranked 26th in sacks. If they want to beat teams like the Buffalo Bills, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Kansas City Chiefs, they will need to contain their offenses. To do that, Jacksonville will need to reinforce the pass rush and fortify the secondary.
Johnston would certainly give the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense another dimension but when you take into account that the group is already stacked with talent, it makes more sense to allocate resources to the defense on the draft.