Rookie Profile – Jahan Dotson

Jahan Dotson - WR - Penn State

Welcome to the rookie profile for Jahan Dotson. Penn State has quietly produced some productive wide receivers in the NFL recently in Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin. Jahan Dotson hopes to be the next name on that list. As a Pennsylvania native, from grade school to high school and finally, to college, Dotson will have a couple of opportunities to keep the trend going.

Measurables

Height: 5′ 11″

Weight: 178 lbs

Age: 22

40-yard dash: 4.43s

3-cone drill: 7.28s

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 36″

Broad Jump: 121″

Bench Press: DNP

College Stats

Notable Headlines

Jahan Dotson was born and raised in Pennsylvania. Coming out of high school he was a 4-start recruit and almost left Pennsylvania for UCLA, but ultimately decided to stay in his home state and committed to Penn State. Dotson consistently improved year over year following his freshman year in 2018. As a Freshman, he had very minimal impact on the field with other NFL pass catchers KJ Hamler, Pat Feiermuth, and Juwan Johnson taking most of the spotlight. Going into his sophomore year, he doubled his receiving yards with 488 but was still squarely behind KJ Hamler and Pat Freiermuth in the pecking order for receptions.

Following the 2019 season, both KJ Hamler entered the NFL Draft, leaving Jahan Dotson to be the true WR1 for this offense. Pat Freiermuth was still around and an integral part of the offense, but Dotson almost doubled his receiving yards again, jumping to 884 yards and 8 touchdowns. This is despite the shortened season and only playing 9 games. Then this past season, we once again see improvement. In 12 games Dotson put up 91 receptions for 1182 yards and 12 touchdowns. His performance in the 2021 season awarded him First-team All-Big Ten and AP Third-team All-American honors. Not to mention a nice boost to his potential NFL Draft Capital. 

Scouting Report

Positives

Jahan Dotson might possess the surest hands in this class. He doesn’t drop the ball when it gets into his catch radius. On top of his sure hands, he creates separation with ease through his route running. He’s a smooth runner that demonstrates an explosive release and crisp inside or outside breaks. Dotson was very effective at Penn State with double moves down the field. Despite not being overly speedy, he could create separation downfield to create explosive plays.

Additionally, he seems to possess a high football IQ. He finds soft spots in the zone with ease, making it appear no one is covering him on certain plays. He also displays great situational awareness, either by finding those soft spots in the zone or drifting with his QB when he has to leave the pocket without running himself into coverage. Dotson is an explosive athlete and can create for himself when given the opportunity in the open field. He follows blockers well and has the elusiveness to make defenders miss to create plus yardage.

Negatives

As good of a route runner, Dotson showed to be, he needs to be more consistent at taking every rep seriously. He would tend to get lazy here and there with rounding his routes or not being overly crisp with his cuts/breaks. Additionally, with a bit of a slighter frame at 5’11” 184lbs, there are instances on tape where you see him getting moved off his spot by physical DBs. Coming back to the consistency, Dotson needs to be more consistent in yards after the catch situations. He will follow his blockers well but is hit or miss on really dynamic plays in the open field that we know he’s capable of. Finally, blocking is an area there isn’t a lot of sample size on Dotson. When asked to block he shows a willingness, but a lot of the time would elect to run decoy routes on the outside.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 2/ Round 3

Landing Spots

This wide receiver class as a whole is deep in this tier of receivers that Dotson lands in. He has all the tools to succeed, being an intelligent player, good route runner, sure hands. He just needs to consistently put those tools together on the field to be successful at the next level. Dotson has a track record of consistent improvement, and the NFL coaching should only help in that regard. Dotson profiles to be a good WR2 or low-end WR1 for a team. He could walk into a role where he can develop into the WR1 in situations such as the Atlanta Falcons (pending Calvin Ridley), Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, or the Las Vegas Raiders. Or he could go and fulfill a solid WR2 role at the Kansas City Chiefs or the Philadelphia Eagles.

Post Draft Analysis

Draft Capital- Round 1, Pick 16

Landing Spot

The Washington Commanders have attacked the wide receiver position aggressively over the past couple of years, especially in the mid-rounds of the NFL Draft. In 2021 they drafted Dyami Brown in the 3rd Round, Dax Milne in the 6th round, as well as signing Curtis Samuel to a 3-year deal. Through 2019-2020 the team picked up Terry Mclaurin in the 3rd, Kelvin Harmon in the 6th, and Antonio Gandy-Golden in the 4th. The Commanders seem to have finally bit the bullet and took Dotson in the 1st round, hoping desperately to find a consistent presence next to their stand-out wide receiver in Terry McLaurin. Since McLaurin’s rookie season, no wide receiver for the Commanders has eclipsed 500 yards receiving, and the only skill-position to do so in that time is Logan Thomas, a tight end, and JD McKissic, a running back, in 2020 with both players failing to break the 700 receiving yard mark.

Despite the lack of production from the wide receiver core, Dotson walks into a fairly crowded room. Curtis Samuel only played in 5 games last season and looks to start the year on a healthy note. Dyami Brown, a rookie last season, should continue to develop and could have a role in the offense. Plus Logan Thomas and pass-catching running back JD McKissic both return and look to factor into the passing game. Finally, at the quarterback position, there is Carson Wentz who has hopped around to 3 different teams in the last 3 years. Dotson is walking into a situation with a lot of mouths to feed and has a quarterback that has failed to impress since his MVP-level season in 2017, providing a questionable path to fantasy success.

Fantasy Impact

Jahan Dotson walks into a wide receiver room that only has one established receiver, but a lot of depth that can muddy the water for Dotson’s immediate playing time. Despite having success in college playing on the outside, the NFL is a more physical game and at 5’11”, 178lbs, Dotson could benefit from playing a zone eating slot role to start off in the NFL. He already naturally finds openings against zone coverage and could provide a great safety valve to Wentz. The biggest issue is that Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown are both swiss army knives that are moved all over the formation, including the slot. If the wide receiver core is healthy, it’s hard to imagine Dotson is a full-time starter right out of the gate. He will most likely get a majority of his run from the slot in 3-wide sets, which is good for Dotson since Washington ran 3 wide sets 75% of the time (top 5 in the NFL). 

What’s not good, is even when he is on the field he is probably the 3rd option, maybe 2nd if he passes Curtis Samuel or Samuel is injured. He could be the 2nd option down to the 4th option in an offense led by a quarterback that has produced only 2 1,000-yard pass-catchers in his 6-year career. So, for redraft, Dotson should be avoided this year, as managers wait to see what happens for next year. In Dynasty, the talent is still there and it’s always smart to value talent over the situation as situations change constantly. See this offseason and even just draft night for a prime example. But, drafting Dotson in the early to middle second round in rookie drafts is still a wait-and-see approach. Bet on the talent and hope he shows encouraging flashes, but don’t expect Dotson to be a year 1 1,000-yard receiver.

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Image Credit: Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports