When the Washington Commanders drafted Jahan Dotson with the 16th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, many wondered if the franchised reached for the 5-foot-11 receiver. Months into the job, he is quickly making a strong impression on those around him.
Even with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel on the roster, Washington envisioned a significant role for its rookie wideout. The 22-year-old showed impressive playmaking ability at Penn State, all while consistently knowing how to get open and make plays in tight coverage.
- Jahan Dotson college stats (2021): 91 receptions, 1,182 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns
Those same qualities Commanders’ scouts and coaches saw on film are immediately translating to the NFL. Facing much better competition, Dotson is building upon an excellent performance during his first OTAs with more steady play at training camp.
Ben Standig of The Athletic wrote recently that Dotson’s footwork and ability to make catches both in tight spaces and when on the perimeter are standing out. The Commanders’ reporter specifically noted that Washington’s defensive backs have had plenty of difficulty covering the rookie.
Keep in mind that he’s accomplishing all of this at a difficult time for Washington’s offense. Quarterback Carson Wentz is battling consistency issues this summer, mixing in erratic throws and poor decisions with some brilliant plays mixed in. Meanwhile, Samuel is creating his own worries within the team.
Dotson is grabbing everyone’s attention, including head coach Ron Rivera. After seeing the 22-year-old perform so well this summer, Washington’s coach believes there is a path for the rookie to make a real impact this year.
“Jahan has an opportunity to be an integral part of what we do already. He’s shown some flashes that have been very impressive. So we’ve got to be very diligent, very smart about it as we go through this process.”Ron Rivera on Jahan Dotson’s potential role in Washington Commanders offense
The Commanders couldn’t ask for anything more from Dotson so far. With backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke expected to see plenty of snaps during the preseason, there will be ample opportunities for Dotson to make plays with starting-caliber passers throwing in his direction.
If he continues to build on this momentum and carries it into the regular season, it shouldn’t be long before Dotson becomes the No. 2 receiver in this offense and that could make him one of the best rookies this fall.