Commanders playmaker adopts elite mindset ahead of crossroads campaign

Jahan Dotson is heading into a crucial campaign.
Jahan Dotson
Jahan Dotson / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone who survived Adam Peters' roster cull this offseason is starting with a clean slate. More than half the playing personnel turned over under the new Washington Commanders general manager. This was necessary and should also raise urgency with nobody aside from a select few representing cornerstone pieces to build around long term.

Jahan Dotson was tipped to become a franchise presence alongside Terry McLaurin in the wide receiver room. The No. 16 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft hasn't met this lofty target through two seasons. But the Commanders are not giving up on the former Penn State standout just yet.

Commanders WR Jahan Dotson is getting his swagger back

The Commanders envisage a big role for Dotson within offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury's scheme. Expect to see the dynamic pass-catcher lined up everywhere along the line of scrimmage as the play-caller aims to find mismatches and exploit them. Couple this with the expected improved distribution from rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels, and it's not hard to see why things are looking up for the wideout.

Dotson freely admitted his performances weren't good enough last season. However, the New Jersey native worked hard this offseason and feels like some of his swagger is returning under Washington's improved coaching staff based on comments via the team's website.

"I just didn't feel like myself. I wasn't a fan of my season last year. So, I went really hard at it this offseason, making sure that I'm better than I was last year -- a lot better -- because I have really high expectations for myself, and I hold myself to a very high standard. He's [Kliff Kingsbury's] making it very simplistic for us right now. And that's really nice. We're going to build on it during the season, obviously. But right now, we're kind of getting the basics of the offense. We're kind of moving slow with it but having a sense of urgency while learning it. I come in every day and just try to put the work in so that I can reap the benefits. I feel like I'm starting to get my swagger back a little bit. So, I'm getting really excited."

Jahan Dotson via

The Commanders gave Dotson a supreme vote of confidence this offseason. They drafted Luke McCaffrey and signed Olamide Zaccheaus, but the No. 2 spot is his unless someone surprisingly propels forward.

Dotson must repay this faith. He must improve the sharpness of his routes. He needs to manipulate opposing cornerbacks better and avoid lapses in concentration. The athletic attributes are there, it's putting everything together that represents the biggest complication heading into Year 3 of his professional career.

There is a lot at stake for Dotson in 2024. His fifth-year option decision is looming next spring. Peters won't pick it up as things stand, so putting together a 1,000-yard receiving season and emerging as a prolific red-zone threat would help his chances considerably - especially considering the current wide receiver market is going through the roof.

Hopes are high that Dotson can finally break out next season and become the difference-maker Washington envisaged coming out of college. Anything less will see Peters identify another productive option via free agency or the draft in 2025.

The stakes are soaring for Dotson. Rising to the occasion is crucial.