Washington Redskins: Josh Doctson’s Health Could Determine Offseason

After missing most of his rookie season with the Washington Redskins, could Josh Doctson break out in 2017? What effect will he have on the offseason?

Much to the surprise of many, Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan chose wide receiver Josh Doctson with the team’s first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Doctson, an All-American wide receiver from TCU, was a surprise due to the team’s surplus at receiver. Most mock drafts had Washington going with a defensive lineman with the 22nd pick.

Fast forward one year later and people are still questioning McCloughan’s choice. But should they be?

McCloughan knew DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon would be free agents after the 2016 season. So, Doctson was a player who could help out in the red zone and be brought along slowly in head coach Jay Gruden’s offense in 2016. However, Doctson injured his Achilles’ tendon in the offseason, forcing him to miss training camp and the majority of his rookie campaign.

The Redskins certainly could’ve used the defensive help. But McCloughan is someone who believes in the best-player-available model. Doctson fit that mold.  Now, with Jackson and Garcon set to test the free-agent market in two weeks, Doctson becomes one of the most important figures in the Washington organization over the next several months.

At the end of the regular season, Doctson still couldn’t run due to the injury. His situation had Gruden frustrated, as highlighted by Grant Paulsen of FOX 5 DC:

If Doctson ran, he’d have soreness the next day and the medical team would tell him to take more time. Recently, Doctson has posted videos of himself running routes, doing footwork drills and much more on his Snapchat, as highlighted by Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post:

He certainly looks good and seems to be in much better health than he was in 2016. But can he be relied up in 2017? And can the Washington decision-makers count on him enough to let Jackson and/or Garcon go? Well, that’s a question that’s almost impossible to answer.

The Redskins won’t have a lot of time to answer this question as free agency opens in less than two weeks. His recent activity is encouraging, though. And as we head into draft season it’s important to remember how talented Doctson is.

He was widely regarded as the top receiver in last year’s draft. At 6-2, 206 pounds, Doctson possesses good size and, while he isn’t a burner, he has solid speed. He runs precise routes and high-points the football as well as any receiver coming out of the draft in recent years. That’s why he can be a deep threat in the NFL. He rarely loses jump balls and catches the football with his hands instead of letting the ball come into his chest.

The Redskins need Doctson. McCloughan needs Doctson. If Doctson proves to be the reliable playmaker he was in college, Washington will be just fine allocating more funds to the defensive side of the ball and allowing one—or both—of their talented veteran receivers to depart.  That’s a big if, though.  

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