Dec 6, 2014; Fort Worth, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Josh Doctson (9) dives for but cannot catch a touchdown pass as Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Nigel Tribune (34) defends during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
This might seem like a strange choice, the Lions might have the best wide receiver combo in the NFL. Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson are a formidable duo, but the Lions have very limited depth behind them. Calvin Johnson isn’t getting any younger and has been missing more games every year. The Lions need to be preparing for football after Calvin and as of right now they have no legitimate options to replace him. Josh Doctson would be a great compliment to Golden Tate for the future and would give the Lions an incredible wide receiver corps during the end of Calvin’s prime. He had a very successful Junior year at TCU with 65 receptions, 1,018 yards, and 11 touchdowns. He has great size for the position (6 foot 3 inches 195 pounds) and has the speed needed to be a successful deep threat. He is the complete package at wide receiver, he can win with his savvy route running or his jump ball ability.
The play above highlights two of Doctson’s biggest attributes; his soft hands and jumping ability. At first glance it seems that the defensive back is in good position, he is in tight coverage on Doctson’s inside hip. Trevone Boykin shows off his trust in Doctson and throws the ball to a spot that only he can reach. Doctson explodes off the ground and high points the ball perfectly, then he snags the ball easily with one hand. He has massive hands and attacks the ball in the The defensive back was in great position and had zero chance to make a play on the ball.
He has massive hands and attacks the ball in the air. He has incredibly timing and jumping ability allowing him to reach balls defensive backs can’t touch. Doctson is an elite redzone receiver and can run the fade or corner route with incredible consistency. He is the type of receiver who is open when he is covered and has the my ball attitude in the air to consistently win 50/50 balls. In the play above he is again in really tight coverage in the redzone, he times his jump perfectly and shows off some impressive body control in the air. He easily adjusts to the ball and extends his frame to grab the ball away from the defender. He has elite body control, he can adjust to the ball in the air with ease and he excels at making toe tapping catches along the sideline.
Unlike other jump ball specialists to come into the league in recent years (Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Jaelen Strong etc.) Doctson has the sharp change of direction necessary to gain separation in routes. He can sink his hips and sharply change direction on curls and out routes. He runs crisp routes, in the video above he runs a high level route that showcases his insane burst. Doctson slows up his route and appears to be changing direction, instead he bursts into his top gear and burns the defensive back deep. The ball falls incomplete but he still runs a very good route and shows he can gain separation in unique ways.
The one hole Josh Doctson has in his game is his yard after the catch ability. He is serviceable after the catch on screens and plays where he understands the play design but he gives up big plays like the one above. There is way too much open field for this not to be a touchdown all he has to do is run towards the opposite sideline. Instead he cuts right towards the incoming defender and gives up a huge play. He rarely forces miss tackles and makes questionable decisions making him a very limited weapon after the catch.
Overall, Josh Doctson is a potential number one wide receiver in the NFL. His jump ball ability will instantly make him a weapon in the redzone and as his route running develops he can become a complete wide receiver. He would give the Lions a high level third wide receiver until Calvin Johnson retires and would be the number one wide receiver of the future.
The Lions have a lot of options in the 2016 draft. By the time the draft comes around the entire landscape of the draft will change and a ton of new players will be discovered. However, Anthony Zettel, Andrew Billings, Taylor Decker, and Josh Doctson will all be at the top of the Lions wish list.
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