Why Jahan Dotson could win rookie of the year for the Commanders

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 20: Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions carries the ball against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half at Beaver Stadium on November 20, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 20: Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions carries the ball against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half at Beaver Stadium on November 20, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Washington Commanders wide receiver Jahan Dotson could have an inside track on the 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award

The Washington Commanders selected wide receiver Jahan Dotson out of Penn State in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He wasn’t the first receiver off the board (four went before him).

And there was a first-round quarterback. Despite that, there’s an extremely strong case to make for Dotson having an inside track at the 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Let’s be honest. Quarterbacks have the upper hand when it comes to this award, just like MVP. However, there was only one quarterback taken in the first round this year (Kenny Pickett).

And there’s no guarantee he’s going to start, as the Pittsburgh Steelers did sign Mitchell Trubisky this offseason as well.

So QB might not really be much of a factor in 2022. There are some running backs that could make waves (most notably Breece Hall who was taken in the second by the New York Jets).

However, a lot of the RBs taken early were drafted by teams that no one expects to be good (the Jets and the Seattle Seahawks for example) or by teams that might make it hard for them to flourish right away.

Being drafted by someone like the Buffalo Bills or San Francisco 49ers is great for an RB in terms of getting great looks and probably getting to stay well-rested. It’s going to hurt the “fantasy numbers” though.

And in terms of OROY, the stats are going to play a big part. So if they aren’t putting up big numbers (outside of an offensive lineman) it’s going to be hard to win that award.

That leaves us with wide receivers. Jahan Dotson was the fifth receiver off the board. There was one more taken in the first after him, and a handful taken in the second (most notably Christian Watson went to the Green Bay Packers with the second pick in the second round).

So what makes Dotson a favorite? His position on the team. The Commanders already have a superstar wide receiver in Terry McLaurin. That right there takes pressure and attention off of the rookie. Outside of that though, there are some major question marks. Dyami Brown didn’t look great last year, and Curtis Samuel spent all year hurt.

Dotson is going to have a very large role in the offense. But he isn’t going to have to do it all. He’ll never be the focus of the opposing defense. And say what you will about Carson Wentz, but he does have an extremely strong arm. That could lead to some home run plays.

Let’s look at some other receivers in the draft. Drake London could be the number one with the Atlanta Falcons immediately. That could help him with targets, but getting extra attention from defenses won’t be kind to him.

Garrett Wilson is intriguing. But the New York Jets also took Elijah Moore in the second round. Could that drop some targets from Wilson? Not to mention a few other receivers on the roster that have decent roles. And what are you going to get from second-year QB Zach Wilson?

If he doesn’t take a step forward it’s going to be hard for a receiver on that team to put up the numbers to win OROY.

Chris Olave was in a really good spot. Then the New Orleans Saints added Jarvis Landry. Olave could still be a prominent part of the offense. But I could see Michael Thomas and Landry taking a hefty portion of the targets. This would limit Olave a bit.

Jameson Williams could be set up nicely with the Detroit Lions after that breakout year from Amon-Ra St. Brown. I’m going to be blunt about this one though. Jared Goff doesn’t exactly instill confidence in me and the Lions have a couple of weapons (like St. Brown and T.J. Hockenson) that I could see Goff leaning on heavily.

This could lead to Williams not lighting it up his rookie year.

Treylon Burks is in a good position with the Tennessee Titans. He has Robert Woods there to take a lot of heat off him. And Derrick Henry is a tank. Could Henry’s run game be too big of a focus though? Leading to Burks not getting much of a workload on offense?

Christian Watson is immediately one of the better receivers on the Green Bay Packers roster. For whatever reason, they don’t seem interested in giving legendary QB Aaron Rodgers much veteran help late in his career.

Watson could benefit from a lot of playing time and having Rodgers. But what if the QB is more interested in hitting his veteran receivers up? Maybe he’s not too worried about creating a whole new rapport with rookie receivers.

Watson will put up solid numbers but might be more Marquez Valdes-Scantling than anything else.

Jahan Dotson is perfectly set up in the Washington offense. The Commanders have an elite number one in Terry McLaurin. That means Dotson doesn’t have too much weight on his shoulders and the defenses won’t be zeroing in on him. But they also have good pieces behind him.

Cam Sims is always good for a few strong games. Dyami Brown could improve off his rookie year (especially with Wentz’s ability to get the ball deep compared to Taylor Heinicke). Curtis Samuel could easily bounce back and return to being an elite weapon as well.

With Samuel as the swiss-knife type of receiver and McLaurin as the elite number one, Jahan Dotson fits in beautifully between them. He should get tons of looks, but never have to worry about carrying the offense by himself.

This could set him up to be the most consistent rookie receiver. Getting decent-to-big numbers every week. And that could lead to the Washington Commanders having their first offensive rookie of the year since 2012 and Robert Griffin III.