Josh Doctson took a big step forward for the Redskins in 2017, but they’re going to need him to ascend to a No. 1 wide receiver in 2018.
The Redskins are placing a lot of hope in Alex Smith’s ability to elevate their offense in 2018. His talents are going to go to waste unless his receivers step up to help him. Specifically, the veteran signal caller needs Josh Doctson to take a massive step forward next season.
In fairness to Doctson, he took a massive leap between his rookie and sophomore campaigns. Of course, he was a complete non-factor in 2016. Doctson finished his rookie season two catches in two games. He missed the majority of his first regular season due to tendonitis in both ankles.
He returned to full health during his second season and put up solid, but unspectacular numbers. Doctson started 14 games for Washington and came down with 35 receptions for 502 total yards. It was a competent season for the talented wideout, but it was well short of what the Redskins expected from Doctson after spending a first round selection on him in 2016.
For whatever it’s worth, Doctson has high expectations for his play this year. He told the Dallas Morning News he is “looking to do huge things” in 2018. Jay Gruden and the rest of the Redskins’ coaching staff need Doctson to make his own predictions come true.
Doctson has more ability than any other receiver on the roster. Jamison Crowder can be a steady wideout, but he doesn’t have the ability to scare opposing defenses. In other words, he can’t draw the sort of double teams that number one receivers across the league can attract. Washington needs Doctson to emerge into that sort of threat to maximize their offense’s effectiveness.
The good news for Redskins fans is that the acquisition of Smith should allow Doctson to increase his productivity. He may not have the strongest arm in the NFL, but he’s still a very accurate passer. His ability to throw the ball into tight windows will allow Doctson to catch the ball in stride more than he has in previous seasons. Ideally, that will allow the former TCU star to produce more yards after the catch than he could last year.
It may seem extreme to call for Doctson to double his production from last season, but the Redskins need him to become their most dangerous wide receiver if they want to make the playoffs. That will require the former first round pick to exceed 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his young career.