The Redskins selected Josh Doctson with the 22nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft for multiple reasons.
What they saw on film was a wide receiver who totaled 25 touchdowns in two years at TCU despite missing three games.
Washington couldn’t help but be attracted to the 6-2 frame that could leap to balls, snag them in midair, and provide hands that could secure a catch despite contact or an off throw. His 4.5 40 during draft workouts showed the kind of wide receiver they would need as both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson entered the final year of their respective contracts.
The only problem in 2016 was that the Redskins never got to see this in the NFL. Doctson’s rookie season was plagued by a nagging Achilles injury that put him on injured reserve in October after recording only two receptions for 66 yards in two games.
“It feels good,” said Doctson of his health after an OTA practice in June. “ I had the whole offseason to work every day, literally, to get healthy. That was my goal and I’ve reached it.
Docston has moved on from 2016. The Redskins are hoping his Achilles injury has as well, with both Garcon and Jackson departed in free agency.
Before Washington looks to Doctson and Terrelle Pryor to be the keys in replacing two 1,000-yard wide receivers, the offseason training activities for the second-year TCU talent were approached more like a rookie.
The Redskins spent OTAs and minicamp teaching Doctson to play the “Z” receiver featured on the strong side of the field. Pryor, off his 1,000-yard season in Cleveland, was placed in the X receiver role.
“He can play both (Z & Y), but right now we’re trying to start him at Z and see how it goes,” said head coach Jay Gruden of Docston. “That would be the plan.”
There’s a plan for Doctson, but can he remain healthy?
Realistically, no one is looking at Doctson to walk in and be a 1,000-yard receiver; however the second-year wideout can be many things to the Redskins’ offense. While not the speedster that Jackson was (and let’s face it, few are), Doctson showed a flash of his deep threat ability when he pulled in an underthrown ball against Dallas last season and raced 57 yards for the longest reception by a Redskin rookie wide receiver.
FanRag Sports colleague Ben Standig showed the possibility of Doctson being a 50-catch, six-touchdown guy.
Doctson’s leaping ability and catch radius will also be factors in the red zone, where the Redskins struggled mightily last season.
Despite finishing ranked third in total offense (6,454 yards), Washington totaled only 383 points (12th in the league). The Redskins’ red zone scoring percentage was just 45 (26th in the league). The size of Pryor, the ability of Doctson, and talent of tight end Jordan Reed could form the trio that will open things up inside the 20 for Cousins and each other.
The Redskins have the talent to again become a top passing team this year. A healthy Doctson could provide the size and speed of a receiver who not only puts up stats but also puts up points.
Wes McElroy hosts “McElroy in the Morning” on Fox Sports 910 in Richmond, Va., covering the Washington Redskins, ACC football and Atlantic 10 basketball. He’s the studio host for VCU Basketball and in the fall hosts “The College Football Tailgate Show” across Virginia. Read his weekly column “What I Learned in Sports this Week” in the Richmond Times Dispatch every Sunday. You can find him on Twitter @WesFoxSports910.
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