The Chargers capped off a successful Round 1 by adding TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston with the 21st overall pick.
Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft begins at 4 p.m. (PT) Friday. Keep track of all moves with the Chargers Draft Tracker.
Here are five takeaways from Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley and Johnston:
1. Johnston has all the necessary traits
If you could build a wide receiver in a lab, it might end up looking like Quentin Johnston.
The Chargers first-round selection (No. 21 overall) is 6-foot-3 and weighs 208 pounds, plus has plus speed and game-changing ability on the field.
Telesco smiled when asked about the traits that made Johnston the pick Thursday night.
"He's big, strong and fast. That's a good way to start it off as a player," Telesco said. "Great work ethic that we love. We know all of these players that are drafted, they're all talented, but once they get in this league, it takes a lot of work to get to where you want to go and keep improving."
Staley said the Bolts believe Johnston is a home-run threat from anywhere on the field.
"He's a weapon to score the ball any time that he touches it," Staley said. "There are very few receivers in the game who are threats to score the ball whenever they have it."
Johnston put up plenty of eye-popping numbers last season at TCU but the most impressive one might have been this: He ranked second in FBS last year with 8.9 yards after the catch per reception.
In other words, Johnston is always looking for more with the ball in his hands.
"The skillset comes from different sports that I played; basketball, track, stuff like that," Johnston said. "At the same time, it comes down to a mindset. It's a want to get extra yards, a want to keep fighting for yards, a first down, things like that.
"I feel like it has been instilled in me long ago in high school, and it's just something that's been carried out with me throughout my college career," Johnston added.
Johnston won't need to be the focal point of the Chargers offense in 2023, but he has all the tools to be a contributor in both the short and long term for the Bolts.
Take a look through some photos of the Chargers 2023 first-round Draft pick, wide receiver Quentin Johnston from Texas Christian University.
2. He'll learn from a great WR group
The Bolts wide receiver group got better Thursday night. Not that it wasn't already a strong position room.
"[Johnston] comes into a wide receiver room that as is as good as any in the NFL," Staley said. "There are so many good mentors for him in that room with two of the best receivers in the game with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen.
"Then, a young receiver, Joshua Palmer, who we think is fantastic," Staley added. "All Quentin needs to do is come be himself, that's why we drafted him."
Johnston said shortly after being drafted that he planned on being a sponge and soaking up as much as he could from that group.
"That's a great receiver room. It's going to be good for me," Johnston said. "I can go in early and pick up a lot of knowledge from those guys and apply it to my game."
3. Another asset for Herbert
Can you ever have enough weapons for Justin Herbert?
The Chargers gave him another option in the passing game in Round 1, making it three straight drafts that the Bolts have taken an offensive player since selecting Herbert at No. 6 in 2020.
The Bolts added left tackle Rashawn Slater in 2021 and followed up with guard Zion Johnson a year ago. Now, Johnston is a weapon for Herbert on the outside.
"We drafted a tackle two years ago, a guard last year," Telesco said. "I said, 'Those aren't the most exciting picks, but they were needed picks.' You're always thinking about your quarterback.
"You think about your offensive coordinator — our new offensive coordinator [Kellen Moore] that's here," Telesco continued. "It's not that we're not going to look at the defensive side of the ball. Certainly, as you're building your offense, we're building it around our franchise quarterback."
Telesco later added: "The more receivers we can have, the better for our quarterback."
Johnston said he's already looking forward to working with Herbert, who has thrown for the most passing yards by a quarterback in a player's first three seasons in the league.
"Great quarterback," Johnston said. "I saw the call pop up and I'm like, 'OK, that's a great quarterback to be playing under.'
"I shouldn't have any problem coming in early and adjusting, soaking up as much stuff as I can from him as far as just football in general," Johnston added. "I feel like I need to come in, as a young guy, as a sponge, taking in as much information as I need to. Then, eventually, clicking with the quarterback and gaining that trust from him."
What was Herbert's reaction to the pick? Staley shared a tidbit Thursday night.
"I just texted him. You know Justin, he doesn't say a lot," Staley said with a laugh. "He's excited."
Join in on the excitement as the Chargers host their official Draft Party in Century City to kick off night one of the 2023 NFL Draft.
4. Room to improve
Good luck finding a flawless draft prospect.
And while Johnston certainly has plenty of strong skills, there are areas of his game that will need to be refined in the NFL.
Telesco noted the Bolts think Johnston can — and will — improve on holding onto the ball with the Bolts.
"I think his catch rate was about 89 percent in college. If he could get that two or three percent higher, that would be great," Telesco said. "Like I said, all of these players coming into the league — from the first pick to the 31st pick today — they all have something as part of their game that they have to work on.
"That's nothing new. We thought we're going to be just fine," Telesco added.
Staley said: "We just really feel strongly about this guy, just the totality of his skillset, height-weight-speed, the character. We're just really happy that he's a Charger."
5. Telesco on trade calls
The first wide receiver went off the board at No. 20 in Round 1 with Seattle taking Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Johnston was up next at No. 21, followed by Zay Flowers to Baltimore at No. 22 and Jordan Addison to Minnesota at No. 23.
The first round saw four receivers get taken … all in a row.
"I kind of thought it would be in the back half of the round," Telesco said about the run on wide receivers. "That was kind of our prediction, I guess, you could say."
While the Bolts stayed put at No. 21, Telesco said he did work the phones looking to trade back.
"Yeah, I was on the phone with a couple of different teams," Telesco said. "Nothing really worked out."
And while wide receiver was a popular pick in recent mock drafts, Telesco the board simply fell that way where a pass catcher ended up in powder blue.
"You don't go into the draft saying, 'Hey, this is the position that we're going to take.' We've never done that before. We didn't do that today," Telesco said. "As we got about six or seven picks away, we kind of saw what our group was with that pick.
"Do we want to trade out? Do we want to stay and pick? We decided to stay and pick because none of the trades really worked out for us. We kind of took it from there," Telesco added.
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