By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Over the past decade, the Big XII has been known for high-scoring offenses and poor defenses. Thus, I dubbed it the Arena League of college football. Among the best point-producers was Josh Doctson. He was a huge play-maker for the Horned Frogs during the past two seasons.
Doctson didn’t have big sophomore (36-440-4) and freshman (35-393-5) seasons, but in 2014, he broke out. The junior hauled in 65 passes for 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns that year. Even though he was a known commodity, Doctson was even better as a senior. In 2015, he notched 79 catches for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns.
For the NFL, Doctson is a dependable possession receiver. He routinely used his size, leaping ability, body control and strength to make catches over defensive backs on 50-50 passes. That made Doctson very dangerous in the red zone. He has excellent hands, and you never saw him dropping passes. He routinely made difficult and acrobatic receptions as well. Even when defenses had him covered, he made big plays for his quarterback.
Doctson will struggle to separate from NFL cornerbacks, who will be able to run with him. He won’t challenge those defenders with speed. It also will be harder to complete 50-50 passes against them as well, because they’re bigger much better than the corners Doctson typically faced in the Big XII. He is also not explosive or sudden, thus separating will be a challenge in his route-running. Doctson also isn’t a deep threat to stretch a defense over the top. If he had speed, he’d be similar to Julio Jones or A.J. Green, but Doctson is a lot slower than those two star receivers.
Sources from multiple teams said they view Doctson more as a late first-round or early second-round talent. Multiple teams have a second-round grade on Doctson and like him as a complementary receiver. As a No.2, he could be excellent and would go very well with a speed wideout on the other side of the field.
Player Comparison: DeAndre Hopkins. Doctson’s game reminds me of Hopkins, but I don’t think Doctson will be as good as Hopkins in the NFL. Both receivers have some size to them, but they aren’t big separation wideouts. They make their living by making difficult, contested receptions over cornerbacks. In the NFL, I think Doctson could be a poor-man’s Hopkins. Hopkins was a late first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he is one of the best players from that class. Doctson could also be a late first-rounder this year.
NFL Matches: Los Angeles, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Carolina, New Orleans, Kansas City, San Diego, Washington, New York Giants, Detroit and Minnesota
The Rams need receiving help, and Doctson would be a nice fit for them. He would give them a big option to complement the speed of Tavon Austin. Doctson upgrade Los Angeles’ red-zone offense as well.
In Ohio, the Browns are desperate for play-makers, and Doctson could be a nice addition for Hue Jackson if Cleveland can land him at the top of the second round. The Bengals lost Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones in free agency, so Cincinnati could target Doctson as a potential replacement in the first round. He would be a perfect fit for what Jones and Sanu brought to the Bengals.
In the AFC West, San Diego needs a young receiver to replace Malcom Floyd while Kansas City could use more weapons to go with Jeremy Maclin. The Chiefs would have to take Doctson in the first round, while the Chargers would have to trade up from their second-round pick to get him.
Carolina needs more receiving talent for Cam Newton, plus the Panthers like big receivers. New Orleans is in the same situation with Marques Colston.
In the NFC East, the Redskins could have some turnover at receiver this offseason, and that could put them in the market for receiver help on draft day. They want a physical team, which Doctson would fit. The Giants have to get a complement for Odell Beckham Jr. as well, but Doctson is too rich at 10th overall in the first round. He would be more in play if he slides and the Giants trade up, like they did for Landon Collins last year.
Detroit lost Calvin Johnson to retirement, and signing Marvin Jones alone won’t replace what Johnson produced. The Lions could trade up for Doctson in Round 2. The Vikings moved on from Mike Wallace and could use a receiver with some size to go with Stefon Diggs.
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