The Washington Redskins selected wide receiver Josh Doctson with the 22nd pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. At the time, Doctson was viewed as something of a luxury pick for the 2016 season, as the team already had two established wideouts on the roster in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.
The real reason he was brought to Washington was that the team had no plans of re-signing both Jackson and Garcon, who would both be free agents in their 30s, in the following offseason.
Doctson only played 31 snaps over the course of two games in his rookie campaign before being shut down and placed on IR because of a lingering Achilles injury. His injury-plagued first year in the pros was disappointing to be sure, but it wasn’t the end of the world. After all, everyone knew the pick was primarily made with an eye towards the future and not just 2016. Unfortunately, the future has not gone as planned.
D-Jax and Garcon both went on to post 1,000-yard seasons for the Skins before bolting to Tampa Bay and San Francisco in free agency. This marked the first time in NFL history that a pair of receivers topped 1,000 receiving yards in the same year and both signed with a new team the following offseason.
The pressure would then fall squarely on Josh Doctson’s shoulders to lead Washington’s wideout corps and produce at a high level. As anyone who follows this team knows, Doctson has failed miserably at that task.
If you know me, then you know I have to back that last statement up with some hard facts. So, whether you want them or not, here are 10 sets of statistics which illustrate the utter disappointment that has been Josh Doctson’s NFL career:
- In his three-year career, Doctson has amassed just 81 receptions and 1,100 yards. Since he entered the league in 2016, 22 players (19 wide receivers) have topped both numbers in a single season a combined 33 times.
- His single-season career highs in receptions and yards are 44 and 532, respectively. Again, since 2016, 122 players (84 wide receivers) have bested those marks in a season a combined 219 times. Fourteen of those 122 were rookies (10 wide receivers).
- Josh Doctson finished both 2017 and 2018 ranked either first or second among the Redskins’ skill position players in snaps, routes run and targets, yet he’s never led the team in either receptions or receiving yards. The Skins’ WR corps ranked dead last in both receptions (145) and receiving yards (1,694) in 2018.
- He has never finished in the top-40 at the receiver position in targets, receptions and first downs.
- The former first rounder has never finished in the top 60 among qualifying wideouts in the following statistics: receiving yards, yards after catch (YAC), yards per target, yards per route run, catch percentage, DVOA, DYAR, PFF grade, receiver air conversion ratio (RACR) and average separation.
- Only eight of his career receptions have gained 30 or more yards. That’s not particularly impressive, especially when you consider 10 of his grabs as a pro have gone for four yards or less.
- The number of times in his career Doctson has dropped a pass (6) or had one of his targets intercepted (7) is almost equal to both the number of touchdowns and deep passes he’s caught (8 each).
- He isn’t exactly what you would call a versatile player either. The TCU product has never played a single snap on special teams or defense for the Redskins and 83% of his snaps have been taken as a boundary receiver. Between college and the NFL (including preseason) he has a recorded a total of negative seven combined rushing and return yards.
- Only 260 or 23.6% of his receiving yards have come after the catch.
- Josh Doctson has never caught more than six passes or gained more than 84 yards in a game. He has also never scored more than once in a single contest. Doctson has failed to gain 40 yards in two-thirds of his NFL games (22 of 33). He’s totaled fewer than 4 receptions, 40 yards and hasn’t scored on 14 occasions (42%).
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. At least up until this point, the Redskins using a first-round pick on Doctson has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster; that’s not really up for debate. By almost any definition, he’s been a bust.
This is not what I want to focus on here today, though. I want to know if there is any shred of hope for Josh Doctson to avoid the dreaded bust label when his football career ultimately ends. Have any players in a similar situation set a precedent he could possibly emulate on his way to a career turnaround or would he have to defy seemingly insurmountable odds by becoming one of the first wideouts to ever accomplish such a feat?