Joshin’ Around: Should the Redskins have used their first round pick on an area of need?



The woes continue for Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson.

Tuesday, the team announced that the sidelined-Doctson will continue to sit through the bye week, with season-ending IR a possibility. The lingering Achilles injury is the latest setback, in what is shaping up to be a lost season for the rookie receiver.

Worse, the Redskins used their first round pick (21st overall) on the former TCU-standout, despite having a roster that was seemingly-loaded on offense. It was the earliest they’d drafted a wide-out since 2001, when they selected the immortal Rod Gardner at fifteen.

Washington’s receiving corps is certainly deep, with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant and Rashad Ross in house (not to mention tight ends Jordan Reed, Niles Paul and Vernon Davis).

With all that depth, Doctson was probably not expected to shoulder a heavy burden, this year. Still, it was hard for the Redskins brass not to salivate over the prospect of adding the slick-catching Doctson into the mix. In his senior year, he caught 79 balls (a Horned-Frogs record) for 1,337 yards and had 14 touchdowns.

His catch tally for the 2016 season still sits at two, including a 57-yard grab against Dallas. If he misses the rest of the season, the Redskins will make do with the rest of their talented, receiving group.

What will hurt them is a missed-opportunity to add depth at more-needed positions. While Skins general manager Scot McCloughan has done miracle work on a once-barren roster, they are a few seasons of stockpiling away from “deep” status.

Remember, Washington went two years without a first-rounder, having traded those picks away in the RGIII deal. Book-ending that gap is a pair of offensive linemen, Trent Williams (2010) and Brandon Scherff (2015).

This decade, the Redskins’ only first-round defender is Ryan Kerrigan (2011, 16th) and, while the unit has performed well of late, they don’t have much in the way of cheap, young studs.

This year was a great chance to add to that depth when, even at 21, there were plenty of good defenders available. Defensive tackles Kenny Clark (27th, Green Bay), DT Vernon Butler (30th, Carolina) and DT Chris Jones (37th, Kansas City) have already made impacts for their teams.

If they felt 21 was a stretch for a tackle, they could have leveraged the pick. Multiple teams were hot on Doctson, and Washington could have traded down, while also picking up an extra second or third rounder.

The Redskins are probably happy with their second round selection, linebacker Su’a Cravens. But, armed with another pick, they could have targeted some much-needed help in the secondary. Cornerback TJ Green (57th, Indianapolis) and safety Sean Davis (58th, Pittsburgh) might have been available, at that point.

Both have received heavy-playing time. The Redskins, meanwhile, have been forced to turn over every stone (most-recently signing Donte Whitner off the scrap heap) in their search for safety help.

As for Doctson, this injury is the latest in a worrisome list he has accumulated both in college and the pros. He has battled the “soft” label, an insinuation that has dogged him since training camp, when coaches and players expressed their frustrations that the rookie wasn’t on the field more.

With all the lost practice time, Doctson is still as raw as they come. He possesses good hands and is a solid-route runner, but lacks the physicality and top-end speed to be a true, number one threat. His ultimate ceiling might be a career along the lines of his teammate, Garcon, but Doctson has a long way to go to make that comp valid.

McCloughan has a track record of success in the draft. His picks haven’t always been popular, but have often gone on to enjoy productive careers.

Josh Doctson may eventually blossom into one of those success stories. For now, however, it looks like he wasted a first-rounder augmenting a surplus, instead of shoring up weaknesses.

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