Over the course of the offseason we’ve been reviewing all the Jets’ futures signings. They made another last week when they signed wide receiver Josh Doctson, so we’re reviewing him today.
The 27-year old is listed at 6’2” and 205 pounds and was a first round pick out of TCU in 2016. Injuries have been an issue for Doctson, who only caught two passes as a rookie and barely played last year. However, he caught 35 passes in 2017 and 44 in 2018.
Doctson was a three-star recruit out of high school and initially headed to Wyoming where he caught 35 passes as a true freshman. At the end of the season, he opted to enter the transfer portal so he could return to his home state and enrolled at TCU.
After posting similar numbers in his first year, Doctson broke out with a thousand yard season as a red-shirt junior and then improved on his numbers as a senior to earn first-team all-Big 12 honors. He was also a unanimous all-American, ending the season with 79 catches, 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns.
After posting an outstanding workout at the scouting combine, Doctson was selected in the first round by Washington.
Unfortunately, his rookie season didn’t go to plan as he suffered an Achilles injury in preseason, then aggravated the injury in the third game of the year. He ended up with just two catches.
Over the next two seasons, Doctson was healthy and he caught 79 passes, with eight touchdowns, averaging just over 500 yards a season. However, he was still regarded as a disappointment.
Having opted not to exercise his fifth-year option, Washington headed into Doctson’s fourth year hoping he would play with more consistency but when Terry McLaurin developed into a potential star, they ended up releasing Doctson in final cuts.
Minnesota signed Doctson but he went onto injured reserve almost immediately and then lasted just seven snaps having been re-activated before getting released. The Jets signed him to a futures deal last week.
Let’s move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Doctson brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Doctson posted an amazing workout at the scouting combine with a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash and outstanding agility and explosiveness numbers including a 41” vertical. He had good height and length with big hands, but needed to bulk up as he entered the league, although he did manage 14 bench press reps at the combine.
There’s a question as to whether Doctson will have lost a step due to some of the injuries he’s had during his career, but none of these seem to be serious enough to make a massive difference.
Doctson mostly played on the outside in college but has been used in the slot from time to time at the NFL level. He hasn’t produced much from the slot, although he did make three of his six touchdowns in 2017 from there.
He hasn’t been used much to carry the ball with just two carries for seven yards in his college career and one for a 14-yard loss as a pro.
Doctson was a good downfield threat in college, but hasn’t had as much success as a pro with most of his long plays coming on blown coverages.
He has an ability to get downfield and make plays on jump balls or back shoulder throws and his ability to do this makes him a downfield threat even when he can’t get separation.
On this play, however, he did get good separation off the line and made a clutch catch to set up the winning score.
Doctson shows good burst in his routes and can execute well on double-moves. However, he can be upright into his routes and doesn’t always make sharp breaks.
On this play, he disguises the fake well and gets open but loses his balance to miss out on a chance to score.
Doctson has a lot of great plays on his highlight reel where he stretches to make a catch at full extension, lays out for the ball or hangs on in tight coverage. In college, he had a spectacular leaping one-hand grab for a touchdown that went viral. He shows those qualities on this nice diving catch.
However, since coming into the league he’s only had a catch rate of 50 percent. While he’s only had a handful of drops, he’s been body-catching the ball a lot and the drops he has had include some poor concentration on balls that hit him in the chest and this potential game winner.
Six of Doctson’s eight NFL touchdowns have come from inside the red zone as he has the ability to make catches in traffic or go up over defenders on plays like this one.
Yards after the catch
Doctson hasn’t done a great deal of damage after the catch but can be effective on wide receiver screens and has shown an ability to use a stiff arm on smaller players. He shows some elusiveness on this play.
Doctson doesn’t stand out as a blocker, although there are plays where he will carry out his assignment and seal his man off from getting in on a play. He doesn’t look particularly impressive even when he manages to do this successfully and struggles to prevent his man from getting off his block easily.
He will make an effort to block down the field but he often does the bare minimum and is rarely an aggressor.
As noted, Doctson doesn’t exhibit much aggressiveness as a blocker or break a load of tackles, but will go over the middle and when running routes he will use hand-fighting techniques to create separation down the field, although he was called for one offensive pass interference penalty.
He can also use his body to box out defenders which he does here against Richard Sherman who has to grab him to stay in contact.
It would help Doctson’s roster chances if he could contribute on special teams but he hasn’t done so at all in college or the pros.
There were too many examples of plays where Doctson and his quarterback weren’t on the same page or he made some other kind of mental error. On this play, for example, he stopped his route, leading to a game-clinching interception.
He also had a couple of false starts and a play where he stepped out of bounds short of the marker on third down.
Washington’s coaches praised Doctson’s attitude prior to the 2019 season but that was within the context of his attitude being less-than-perfect in the early part of his career.
He is described as having had a nonchalant attitude and being inconsistent in his effort levels early on in his career.
On the field, he’s showed poor discipline at times with three unsportsmanlike or taunting penalties, including one which saw him fined. He was criticized for one of these which saw him spin the ball to celebrate a catch while down by 21 points.
Injuries have obviously had a big impact on Doctson’s career so far although none of them appear to have been that serious.
The injury that wrecked Doctson’s rookie year was described as a “mysterious” Achilles injury but doesn’t appear to have been a rupture or tear.
He landed on injured reserve with the Vikings due to a hamstring injury having also suffered from heel pain with Washington that preseason.
In college, he missed some time with a wrist injury.
The Jets should feel good about Doctson’s potential fit within the system, given that they already brought in two receivers who played within the same scheme in Jamison Crowder and Jehu Chesson.
Bringing in a reclamation project like Doctson is always a worthwhile gambit when it’s a low-risk, high-reward move. Perhaps Doctson will never be the player Washington envisaged when they drafted him but if all he does is replicate his production from 2017 and 2018 that will make him a useful contributor.
Ideally the Jets would like to see more consistency out of Doctson, which should translate to his effort, efficiency and production. Nothing will be guaranteed for him though, so we’ll see how he approaches the offseason coming off a humbling 2019 campaign.