Although the Green Bay Packers aren’t quite mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, general manager Brian Gutekunst and his front office are already hard at work preparing for the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Packers are now just 4-8 after falling to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football, but they have had some bright spots on the roster from the 2022 draft. Romeo Doubs was showing flashes before suffering a high-ankle sprain, while Christian Watson has burst onto the scene as a future star playmaker, catching six touchdown passes over the last three games.
Given the uncertain future of players like Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins, the Packers might need to keep getting younger at the receiver position. Ryan Wilson with CBS Sports had just the player in mind in his latest 2023 mock draft, having the Packers take TCU receiver Quentin Johnston.
“Johnston’s an above-the-rim playmaker whose athleticism and contested-catch abilities reminds us of a more consistent Chase Claypool,” Wilson said. “The Packers have inexplicably shied away from WRs in the first round but it’s probably time to change that.”
What Could Quentin Johnston Bring to Green Bay?
Regardless of who plays quarterback for the Packers in 2023, they would have a pretty strong group of receivers if the team drafted Johnston.
Johnston was already turning heads as a 6’4″ receiver coming out of high school. A 4-star recruit out of Temple, Texas, Johnston received offers from top programs like Oklahoma and Notre Dame, but decided to stay in his home state to play for the TCU Horned Frogs.
The 21-year-old made an almost immediate impact in college, earning an All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2020 before making the All-Big 12 first team as a sophomore. Even while dealing with an ankle injury throughout the 2022 season, Johnston has managed to catch 49 passes for 764 yards and five touchdowns.
At 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Johnston is a matchup nightmare for defenses because of his size and difficulty to bring down after the catch. His long strides also allow him to build up to dangerous top speeds, allowing him to push the field vertically for explosive plays.
The Packers are notorious for drafting wide receivers who are at least six feet tall and heavier than 200 pounds. There aren’t a lot of receivers with that size in the 2023 draft, but Johnston fits the mold almost perfectly.
Could Christian Watson Make the Pro Bowl?
It took him a while to get going, but Christian Watson’s three-game pace could legitimately put him in the Pro Bowl hunt if he keeps putting up numbers like he has been.
Despite his early-season struggles and injuries that kept him off the field, Watson has caught fire over the last three games. His three-touchdown performance against the Dallas Cowboys even drew comparisons to legendary wide receiver Randy Moss. In fact, after not catching a touchdown through the first nine weeks of the 2022 season, the second-round pick is now tied for seventh in the NFL with six receiving TDs.
The Packers have started to realize that they can use Watson’s speed to shred opposing defenses, regardless of who is playing quarterback. Even backup QB Jordan Love was able to find Watson on a crosser that he took to the house on a 63-yard score.
There are still a few games left, and if Watson can keep this hot streak going, there’s a very good chance he finds himself in the Pro Bowl as a rookie.