Finding a stud wide receiver this offseason is arguably as important for the New York Giants as re-signing quarterback Daniel Jones. The latter still needs a new contract, but Jones won’t develop further as a passer without better playmakers to aim for whenever he puts the ball in the air.
Fortunately, one of the top wide receivers in the 2023 NFL draft has already met with the Giants and will do so for a second time. TCU’s Quentin Johnston told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine about his impressions of the Giants, as well as his desire to suit up for Big Blue in the pros: “I met with them Wednesday, and I’m meeting with them again sometime soon. It was a very welcoming staff, had good talks with them. I for sure see myself in that blue with them, just like I did in high school.”
Johnston’s endorsement of the Giants is great news for team that was shorn of big plays through the air last season. Jones threw just 15 touchdowns, while leading an air attack that mustered a league-low 28 completions of 20 yards or more.
Johnston would surely solve both problems as perhaps the premier vertical threat in a draft class loaded at receiver.
Draft Standout Has Attributes Giants Need
Selecting Johnston 25th overall would give the Giants what they need in the passing game. Namely, a legitimate field-stretcher capable of burning defenses deep on a regular basis.
That’s what Johnston frequently did during three years with the Horned Frogs. Johnston averaged at least 17.8 yards per reception in each of those seasons, per Sports Reference.
He enjoyed his best campaign in 2022, hauling in 60 catches for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns. One of those scores came against Kansas State back in October and showcased Johnston’s knack for getting behind coverage:
Darius Slayton was the only wideout on the books who could go long in a credible way in 2022. Slayton recorded two catches of 50-plus yards, but he’s set to enter free agency this offseason.
The 26-year-old is also 6’1″, three inches shorter than Johnston. Jones needs a tall target who can body defensive backs on the outside and reel in contested catches and jump balls.
Johnston can do those things, with Luca Sartirana of Mike Farrell Sports highlighting one notable example:
Height is not a commodity the Giants dealt in at wide receiver last season. Richie James tied for the team lead with 57 catches, but like Slayton, the 5’9″, 185-pounder is also headed for free agency.
If James isn’t brought back, his place is likely to be taken by 5’8″ Wan’Dale Robinson, once the latter recovers from a torn ACL that derailed his promising rookie season. It means the Giants will still be left looking for a towering target for Jones.
Regardless of size, the Giants haven’t been shy about meeting with potential upgrades for Jones’ current pass-catchers.
Giants Running Rule Over Host of Draft Wide Receivers
Johnston isn’t the only wideout who’s spoken with the Giants. The team has also met with two other prominent members of this class, according to Art Stapleton of Record Sports and Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post:
It makes sense for the Giants to perform due diligence ahead of bolstering their receiver corps. How they proceed will be pivotal to safeguarding whatever investment the team makes in Jones.
The options are clear. Either the Giants’ QB1 gets a lucrative, multi-year deal or he plays under the franchise tag next season. Either path will be an expensive one for the Giants, with the tag set to cost $32,416,000, while Jones is said to want “more than $45 million” annually, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.
Throwing 15 touchdowns again wouldn’t justify either salary, so Jones will need more help on the outside. Help Johnston is qualified to provide.