Jahan Dotson: Rookie Report Card

A Tale of Great Value!

A football rests on a field

Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State




Overall: 80

Best Landing Spots:  BUF, KC, PIT, INDY, ARI, GB, NEP  


Jahan Dotson broke out in his junior year at Penn State in 2020 when he racked up 884 yards and 8 TDs in just 9 games. He followed that up with a superb senior year where he totaled 1,182 yards and 12 TDs. He was third in the Big 10 in both receptions and yards and led the Big 10 in TDs in a shortened 2020 season. The man is electric on the football field and one of the more intriguing players in this year’s draft.

Putting on Dotson’s tape was a real treat for this football fan. He’s got elite playmaking ability, elite speed, possibly the best hands in the draft, and is dangerous in the open field. He also has good body control and can be trusted in contested situations. He’s an awesome natural separator and I have the suspicion that he’s going to contribute immediately. His faults are all teachable and I think that some of them can be quick fixes.

One of the shortcomings that kept popping up was his deep routes. He’s a good deep threat weapon and this may sound counterintuitive, but he needs to learn a quick lesson in speed manipulation. He typically runs his fastest at all times when going deep. The surprising part is that he was still able to beat a lot of Division 1 college athletes! When he gets to the NFL he will need to add this to his repertoire, but I anticipate that he can do it. His routes between the hashes need a little help as well. He’d be best outside as a rookie. Lastly, his size is concerning and there was evidence of him getting pushed around in tight coverage.

Dotson is the reason I won’t have any Jameson Williams shares in rookie drafts. I would much rather draft Dotson, who I believe is more polished and just as explosive, He’s a much better route runner as well, in my opinion. I am good with taking him anywhere in the 2nd round, but I would also be ok taking him in the late first over a guy like Carson Strong or Ridder.

FF Upside: 7

  • He has to work on route running technique, but you see he has the ability.
  • Want him to go to a good team with good coaches like BUF, GB, KC, NE.
  • Anywhere from a top-15 to outright bust.
  • Probably a mid-WR2.

Route Running: 6.5

  • Understands DB leverage.
  • Needs to get his shoulders lower when breaking off 9-routes into a hook or comeback—doesn’t always fool the DB vertically.
  • Nice hip speed at the top of routes.
  • Can freeze DBs with a skip-step hesitation—just a nice little tool for separation.
  • You’d like to see some more outside fakes before breaking inside when running an inside route and the DB has inside leverage. There are a couple of times when he turns right into the coverage.
  • Nice hand technique coming off the line.
  • Nice footwork at the line.
  • Nice shoulder pad level when clearing DB off the line.
  • Changes hip direction quickly during his routes.
  • Could use way more speed manipulation on deep routes.
  • Definitely at his best on intermediate routes right now.
  • Has a really nice toolbox at the line of scrimmage—can win in a multitude of different ways.

Hands: 8

  • Needs to come down with some tougher catches.
  • Could have the best hands in the draft.
  • Put in some insane catches using really soft hands.
  • Does drop a few here and there.
  • Comes up with some jaw-dropping snags.

RAC Ability: 8

  • Turns hips as he obtains possession of the ball, getting him north and south very quickly after the catch.
  • Great lateral agility and change of direction.
  • Reads blocks well.
  • Can beat anyone to the outside.
  • Takes what the defense gives after the catch and doesn’t force what isn’t there.
  • Shows good vision out of the wildcat.
  • Sometimes there are tackles you’d wish he’d break that he doesn’t.

Body Control/Contested Catch: 7

  • Gets the ball secure and pulled into his body quickly (rip motion), minimizing the amount of time that DBs have to knock it out.
  • Nice timing on his vertical.
  • Good wingspan.
  • Can take a hit and hold on, but this is inconsistent.
  • Has the wingspan and grace to climb the ladder—and he does.
  • Has good control of body even running full speed.
  • Good use of his body to block out defenders for his size.

Physicality: 4

  • Can struggle with press coverage.
  • Willing to block for teammates.
  • Of course you’re worried about him being bumped off routes and being physically manhandled in the NFL, but he has nice footwork and hand checking that makes up for his size usually—plus if you whiff on the press you’re not catching up.
  • Has a difficult time if the DB does get a good piece of him (was pushed into the bench vs Ohio St. in 2021).
  • Not afraid of contact.

Awareness: 7

  • Understands DB leverage.
  • Selling routes needs a little work.
  • Mostly has nice ball tracking skills, although he can lose it at times.
  • Sits down in zones pretty well.
  • Good on scramble drills.
  • Doesn’t quit on plays.

Possible Roles on Offense:

  • I see Jahan Dotson playing on the outside a lot, but can move inside and be a very nice deep threat from the slot.
  • Definitely going to be a nice deep threat.
  • Could see him becoming a true number one—you can see the flashes, but he just has to put it all together more consistently.
  • Can take wildcat snaps and can even throw out of it.
  • Hopefully used in motion often.
  • Going to be great on deep crossing routes.
  • Going to have multiple games where he throws a touchdown pass.
  • I think he’s going to be a good red zone target with his quick separation and elite hands.
  • Can contribute on special teams.

Written by Scott Acquard

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