How do you rank a player who has never played a down in the NFL?
...rookie first round draft pick Josh Doctson surely checks off all the boxes! He simply is "the complete package"!
Redskins fans around the world were excited when the Skins made TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson the 22nd overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. Part of this excitement was due to the fact that the Redskins have not selected a receiver in the first round of the draft since Rod Gardner in 2001, and partly because the team was desperately in need of a big, physical, altletic, young receiver to eventually take over for Pierre Garçon, who has not lived up to his potential here in DC.
Doctson, who stands nearly 6'3" and weighs 205 pounds, boasts some very impressive measurables and college stats he can lean on coming into the NFL. At this year's NFL scouting combine, Doctson opened the eyes of scouts and GM's around the league, recording a 4.5 40 yard dash, a 10'11" broad jump, and a ridiculous 41" verticle. His 4.08 20 yard shuttle and 11.06 60 yard shuttle were among the best at his position. He also looked amazing in on-field drills, catching everything that came his way, and looking crisp coming in and out of his breaks.
At TCU, Doctson had a very impressive resume. After transferring from Wyoming, and sitting out his first season per NCAA rules, Josh began to impose his will on opposing Big12 defenses. As a sophomore, he amassed 440 yards on 36 catches with 4 touchdowns. The following year, he really came into his own as a receiver, hauling in 65 catches, for 1018 yards and 11 touchdowns. He followed that up as a senior with a record breaking season that saw him grab 78 catches for 1326 yards and a whopping 14 touchdowns in just 10 games played. He was named a unanimous All-American following his senior season.
His production, combined with insane measurables, led many analysts to dub him as the best receiver in the 2016 draft class. Still, he was not the first wide receiver taken. Corey Colemen of Baylor was selected 15th overall by the Browns. With the 21st pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans traded up one spot with the Redskins to select speedster Will Fuller from Notre Dame. This move left Doctson sitting in the Redskins lap at pick 22, and with four receiver-needy teams perched right behind them, GM Scot McCloughan wasted no time selecting the talented Doctson.
And so the intro has been written, but how will the subsequent chapters unfold, and how will this story play out?
This novel is a complicated one, as it's hard to project a wide receiver to the NFL due to the complexity of the position. Many highly-rated receivers with excellent college resumes and astounding measurables have come into the league and flopped for one reason or another. This seemed to happen more often than not to our Redskins with first round wide receiver selections, as Desmond Howard(92'), Michael Westbrook(95'), and Rod Gardner(01') never really lived up to the great expectations that were set when they were drafted high by the team. Since the modern era draft began in 1970, the Redskins have hit on just one first round wide receiver, and that pick was a HUGE one - Hall of Famer Art Monk(80').
Does Doctson have what it takes to buck this trend of mediocrity with recent draft selections, and elevate himself to one of the best receivers in the history of the franchise?
Let's take a look at the current Redskins record book to see who Doctson is chasing:
1)Art Monk(80'-93') - 888 rec, 12,026 yds, 65 td's
2)Charley Taylor(64'-77') - 649 rec, 9110 yds, 79 td's
3)Gary Clark((85'-92') - 549 rec, 8742 yds, 58 td's
4)Santana Moss(05'-14') - 581 rec, 7867 yds, 47 td's
5)Bobby Mitchell(62'-68') - 393 rec, 6492 yds, 49 td's
Why Doctson could become the greatest Redskins receiver ever:
The NFL has changed significantly over the past 10-15 years. Teams pass more than ever, and last year alone, teams passed an average of 61% of the time. Compare this to the 80's, where teams threw about 50% of the time. Obviously, with more passes, comes more targets for top receivers. In the 80's and 90's, 75 reception, 1000 yard seasons would get you into the Pro Bowl, and named first team All-Pro. Today, that's what your number two receiver produces.
Doctson should have the luxury of learning the nuances of the game from a veteran like Pierre Garçon, before becoming "the Man" in 2017. This transition should take the pressure off the young man, allowing him to learn the game at his own pace, all while being a solid contributor as a rookie. Once he is let loose, the 6'2 3/8" 205 pounder, can use his ridiculous skills, including his amazing body control, speed, tacky mitts and that 41+ inch vertical, to be a major threat all over the field.
As Doctson grows along side Kirk Cousins, and the two develop the necessary chemistry over the next 8-10 years, there is no reason to think 100 catch, 1200 yard seasons will not become the norm while Doctson is in his prime. It's not out of the question to think that Doctson, when all is said and done, and with a little luck and longevity on his side, could approach the career numbers of the great Art Monk. While he may not be able to break all of Monk's franchise receiving records, he could easily eclipse some of the others on the Top 5 list, ranking him among the best receivers in franchise history.
Why Doctson will not come close to breaking franchise records:
First, let's put this into perspective - the great Art Monk played in the league for 14 highly productive seasons, totaled 888 receptions, and over 12,000 receiving yards. Football has always been a violent game, but it has gotten even more so because of the size, speed and power of athletes playing today. Injuries are very hard to aviod, and longevity is tougher than ever to achieve, especially with athletes today retiring in their prime. The question becomes, can Doctson play in the league long enough, and at a high enough level, to eclipse some of the receivers on this list?
Doctson enters the league as a 23 year old rookie. He will turn 24 before the 2016 season ends. Could he play until he's 34...? Sure, he COULD, but the chances are low that he remains productive into his mid 30's. Even if he does play at a high level for 10 seasons, he would need to average over 80 catches per season, and 1200 receiving yards to catch Monk on the all-time list. In a game that has become so incredibly violent, and with players making their millions in that second contract, will the smell of the record books be enough to trump the idea of leaving the game wealthy and healthy?
So, as the Redskins embark on the Josh Doctson era, we as fans need to temper our expectations on the young receiver. It may be hard to do, since we have not had a true franchise number one in decades, and we have not had a receiver with this skill set...maybe ever! But we can also sit back, and simply enjoy what we have here in DC, knowing this may be the start of something very, very special.
They say records are made to be broken. Will Doctson shatter current Redskins receiving records on his way to the top? Or, will 5-6 good solid years of production be enough for Redskins fans to consider him a wise selection at pick 22 of the 2016 NFL Draft?