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Washington Commanders Select Penn State Receiver Jahan Dotson - Tyler’s Take

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan State Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft fell absolutely PERFECTLY for the Commanders (or at least for me). I did value Drake London at pick 11 (but he was off the board), but I had said on numerous occasions that my desire was to trade back and still get an offensive playmaker in round one while adding another day two pick (likely a third rounder that we were missing because of the trade for Carson Wentz).

I tweeted this an hour or so before the draft.

Well trade back we did, and not only did we net ourselves a third round pick, but we added another fourth too. Now, you may look at the trade value chart and say Washington didn’t quite get the value they should have by trading away number 11, but to me, the trade was pretty even. Pick number 11 holds a relative value of 1250 points. Picks 16, 98 and 120 hold a total value of 1162, so it was just 88 points off - however, it was our desire to move back to accumulate more picks (a VERY smart move), and as you all know, it takes two to tango - so beggars can’t be choosers; especially when this draft was as deep as it is in the middle rounds, and there was not a lot of high-end, can’t-miss talents in round one.

The best part of this move is we avoided taking another non-premium defensive player in round one - which would have been the sixth year we’d used a first rounder on the defensive side of the ball, and the fourth on a non-premium player.

Sorry, but not sorry, to all the Kyle Hamilton fans out there...


As many of you probably already know, I am intimately familiar with Dotson’s game. I’ve seen every contest the young man has played in his Penn State career, and often came away in complete awe of his skill set.

I tweeted this about Dotson last November.

Now, I will say that I was not as high on Dotson for Washington because I preferred a bigger-bodied wide receiver who could be a RAC monster. However, this was just my personal desire for the team and it in no way diminishes the talent he is.


What is Washington getting with Dotson?

First, Jahan Dotson is an OUTSTANDING young man. My family knows a Penn State great and former NFL GM who happens to be from the same area as Jahan, and let me just tell you, this person absolutely raves about the character of him. The words “an even better person than player” often come out of his mouth when speaking about the Nittany Lion blazer. Fans should feel extremely confident that Washington got a high character guy who will fit very well in the locker room.

Second, Dotson is a complete perfectionist in every sense of the word. He was one of the hardest workers in the Nittany Lions’ program, and will put in the necessary time to perfect his craft at the next level. He tested very well at the Combine and his Pro Day, recording a 4.43 40 (he was times as low as 4.35 at Penn State), 36’ vertical, and maybe most impressively, put up 15 reps at 225. He caught 91 passes (all with poor quarterback play in 2021), for 1182 yards and 12 touchdowns!

Third, and maybe most importantly, Jahan has the best set of hands in this draft class. The catches I saw him make at Penn State were absolutely eye-popping. The gem he hauled in against Ohio State (posted above), was simply amazing, and he often makes these look routine.

Finally, he’s a technician with outstanding speed - however he makes that speed look effortless. Instead of route running, I call what he does, route “gliding”. He reminds me a bit of Olave in that sense, however, he does not shy away from contact as much as Chris did.

For all the positives, there are some negatives I want to speak about.

Dotson is not the biggest guy. He checks in at 5’11” 12 and 180 pounds. He’ll probably be listed at 6’0” on Washington’s official roster, but that frame will only be able to hold 185 pounds. He’s not a guy who will break a lot of tackles at the NFL level, but don’t let the smaller stature confuse you...the guy will fight for extra yardage on every catch if given the opportunity.

For as strong as he is for his size, he’s not going to be a great blocker in the run game. I will use the word “willing” here - being that he’s a willing blocker, but is much more positional than a bulldog.

My last critique, and this is just me nitpicking, is he really doesn’t complement what we have at receiver. He is another smaller, faster guy who prides himself on hard work and the technical aspects of his game (which is absolutely great), but it does not diversify this group.


How he’ll be used:

Dotson offers great position flex, something this staff values. I imagine he’ll see his fair share of target on the outside, opposite Terry, as his ability to run the full route tree is evident in his game. That said, he should also be a chess piece that Turner can move around to create the best possible mismatches against opposing defenses. Expect him to operate some out of the slot, and run the deep over routes that are becoming so prevalent in the NFL today. Also, look for him to be used off the line of scrimmage in trips, stack and bunch formations, where his speed on crossers and ability to find a hole in zone coverage and sit down, will be a quarterback’s best friend.

Dotson should be a Z receiver, with positional slot flex, in this offense.

He also has great punt return ability, so I expect him to immediately slot in there and become a dangerous return weapon.


Player Comp:

My player comp for Dotson is Seattle’s Tyler Lockett. They are both almost identical in size, speed and athleticism. Dotson, however, has the better hands and is more accomplished running the entire route tree. He’s also much stronger; especially when the ball is in the air.