In an attempt to surround their newly-acquired quarterback with a stronger support staff, Washington Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew selected wide receiver Jahan Dotson 16th overall. Upon first glance, some thought the decision could mean Terry McLaurin’s future was not secure in D.C. But that wasn’t the case at all.
Instead, as mentioned, they wanted to add a complementary piece to their top wide receiver and did so by adding Dotson out of Penn State. Roughly two months later, McLaurin received his three-year, $68 million extension. This locked in a relatively young core for Carson Wentz to grow with. Except for one key factor, Dotson had yet to even play a game. As all rookies are, he was far from a sure thing.
Now we at least have a game to go off of, leading us to evaluate Dotson’s performance in his NFL rookie debut. As you can imagine from the title of this article, it went well. Let’s break it down.
Related: Washington Commanders Brian Robinson returns to working out 2 weeks after being shot
Washington Commanders made the right call with Jahan Dotson
Aside from changing quarterbacks, which they did, one of the best ways to jumpstart an NFL offense is by adding premier talent at the wide receiver position. The Commanders feel they did just that this offseason after identifying Jahan Dotson as a wideout who flashed immediate skills while showing enough potential to grow into a threat.
In his first taste of NFL action, Dotson hauled in three-of-five Carson Wentz targets for 40 yards. Yet as you can imagine, the most impressive part was his two touchdown catches.
Just as he displayed in his four seasons in college, Dotson’s same traits were in effect on Sunday. Just as we heard about during training camp, Dotson routinely created separation, only this was in real-time, against starting-caliber defenders going full speed.
His first touchdown came in the blink of an eye, by using a quick shimmy move to thrust past his defender in coverage to get wide open for a brief moment in the end zone.
We were already impressed with the young 22-year-old. But then he outdid himself by coming away with the game-winning touchdown catch to put the Jaguars in the rearview mirror for good. Once again, it was his nifty route-running and quick feet that did the trick, but he completed the toughest part; catching the ball with the game on the line.
There are 32 first-round picks each year. Not all of them pan out. For now, Dotson looks to be a winner and leads all rookies in touchdown catches. He played 88% of the team’s offensive reps in Week 1, and if he can continue this effort, that percentage won’t diminish any time soon.
The Commanders also have Curtis Samuel, who appears healthy again, and he managed eight receptions on 11 targets to lead the team in Week 1. It was actually Scary Terry whose target share suffered with Wentz, seeing just four targets. Dotson won’t surpass McLaurin any time soon, but if his Week 1 performance is any indication of future success, No. 1 will be a fixture in the starting lineup for years to come.
We obviously don’t know what the future holds for the 5-foot-11 wideout, but he’s off to a strong start and actually has the best betting odds to win Rookie of the Year for now. We’ll see how he does against the Detroit Lions and their unproven secondary in Week 2.