Did Commanders reach by taking Jahan Dotson at No. 16 overall?
By Jerry Trotta
The days leading up to the NFL Draft were full of surprises for Washington Commanders fans. Between Daron Payne not expected to receive an extension and the team reportedly kicking the tires on taking a quarterback on Day 2, fans didn’t know what to expect heading into Thursday night’s first round.
When the time came to strike, the Commanders traded the No. 11 overall pick to New Orleans for the No. 16 overall pick and both a third- and fourth-round pick, giving the team seven picks to work with over the final six rounds.
With their newfound 16th pick, Washington took Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson. While Dotson offers plenty of intrigue as a prospect, the pick fueled discourse in regard to whether the Commanders reached on the former Nittany Lion.
Did the front office panic after their trade-back plan went off script?
While Washington had a high grade on Dotson, the player himself wasn’t expecting a call from Ron Rivera. In fact, he told the media he was watching the Pelicans-Suns game when the Commanders head coach buzzed his cell phone.
Did the Commanders reach on Penn State WR Jahan Dotson?
It’s tough to judge whether the Commanders extended themselves before Dotson even plays in a game for the team, so it’s about your personal preference.
Would you have rather Washington stayed at No. 11 and drafted Kyle Hamilton, Jameson Williams or Chris Olave? Olave ironically went to the Saints, and the Lions moved heaven and earth to move up and get Williams at No. 12, seemingly communicating that the previous 11 teams were insane to pass on him.
And Hamilton went two picks before Washington to Baltimore.
Getting back to the Dotson pick, you could also question whether the Commanders should’ve taken Treylon Burks instead. As a 6-foot-2, 225-pound target, the Arkansas product seemed like the more ideal complement for Terry McLaurin.
We also know Carson Wentz has preferred throwing to bigger-bodied receiers compared to smaller targets like Dotson.
While all pertient questions, do any of them really matter? We’ll know at some point down the road, but at the end of the day Dotson was one of four wideouts Washington gave a first-round grade to, per ESPN’s John Keim.
That’s what really matters … not fishing for ways the pick could blow up in Washington’s face. In the eyes of Ron Rivera, general manager Martin Mayhew and the rest of the front office, they hit a home run with the pick.
Should they have traded back again and run the risk of Burks and Dotson being gone and being cornered into taking a linebacker or offensive linemen? This was clearly a receiver-or-bust approach from the Commanders and they managed to get one of their guys after trading back and acquiring more picks.
If Olave’s name had been on that card, fans wouldn’t be able to contain their excitement. Just because the pick was used on a player that didn’t visit with the team or wasn’t heavily linked to them doesn’t make it a bad one.
A surprise? Yes, but the first round was full of them.