By Adam Aniba
Although receiver Terry McLaurin is the unquestioned franchise player for Washington, rookie Jahan Dotson (FULL Scouting Report) has been the WR reporedly building the most chemistry with new QB Carson Wentz.
The trade back from #11 in Round 1 and selecting Dotson at #16, seems like a wise move, considering they still addressed a need and added players at key positions with the extra draft capital. In the end, Dotson will be measured against the receivers selected ahead of him and after him, but he could be in the best situation among his rookie peers this season.
Although Dotson will be expected to produce early, having McLaurin, Samuel and a cast of other weapons on offense, should ease his transition leading to frequent 1-on-1 matchups.
Head Coach Ron Rivera has had praise for the former Nittany Lions WR all offseason. He has a comfort level with the Dotson, which is rare with rookie receivers adjusting to the speed and intricacies of the pro game & playbook.
"He's a very precise route runner, excellent hands, very sharp, very smart young man, hard worker. Has done all the things you need to do to feel good about him."
While at PSU, Dotson was frequently the go-to target when a big play was needed, although the quarterback play was not up to par. His ability to sell his routes, keep defensive backs on their toes and routinely make one-handed catches, frequently bailed out his signal caller's under/over throws. Adding to his value, Dotson recorded 25 punt returns for 338 yards and 1 TD with a 13.5 yard per return average while at PSU.
Dotson was the primary punt returner during a recent Washington practice and could be used situationally .
Washington Wide Receivers Coach Drew Terrell has been impressed with the first year receiver as well.
“I was going back through his tape to try and find negative plays that I could press him on, I was watching the tape and I was like, ‘Nah, that play’s not that bad.’ ‘Nah, that play’s pretty good.’ So I didn’t have that much negative to go off of. He’s a smooth cat, he’s what we expected him to be thus far in terms of his being a route runner, his ball skills, his demeanor, not flinching from the moment and being able to come out here and gain confidence every day and execute every day.”
Dotson is a prospect that doesn't blame others and is always reflecting internally. If he came up short on a play, he always backed up his PSU QB's, despite their lackluster play.
Many believe Washington's receiving core could be the best Wentz has seen in his career, but the unproven rookie receiver is the one taking up many of the new QB's sound bites.
“He catches the ball as naturally as anyone I’ve been around.”
In an age where rookie receivers are expected to produce immediately, adjusting to the speed of the NFL and learning complicated verbiage/pro playbook can be challenging. OC Scott Turner finally has a cast of speedy/sure handed receivers that can spread the field and make clutch receptions in crucial situations. In the end, Dotson might very well go down as the most productive receiver in the '22 draft class, especially with a mentor like McLaurin by his side.
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