Column: Commanders avoid big names, add Dotson and picks

April 29, 2022

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions catches a pass for a touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half at Beaver Stadium on November 7, 2020 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Washington Commanders entered the NFL Draft Thursday night needing picks, beginning with only six selections for the three-day event. They began to solve that problem by trading the 11th overall pick to the New Orleans Saints for the 16th pick along with a third (98th) and fourth-round pick (120th).

General manager Martin Mayhew said earlier this week there were going to be opportunities to get starters in the third and fourth rounds of the draft, so we knew the Commanders were looking at adding picks.


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Regardless of where Washington picked in the first round, there was a good chance the team would get some help for Terry McLaurin at the wideout position. They also think Curtis Samuel should be ready to contribute 100% this year, but wanted to add some depth and another threat.

With a lot of the top wide receivers off the board at No. 16, I thought maybe they would trade back again with no obvious selection in front of them.

The Saints ended up taking Ohio State WR Chris Olave with the 11th pick, while Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton went two picks in front of Washington at 14. Hamilton is a player that had been linked to Washington a good amount during this process.

Would things have been different if he slipped two spots? Maybe, but that didn’t happen.

Instead, the Commanders took Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson with the No. 16th overall pick. His name hadn’t really been connected to Washington during the process and seemed to be a bit of a stretch to take him at 16.

Dotson also didn’t expect to go that high, saying that he was watching the Suns-Pelicans NBA playoff game on his phone when Ron Rivera called.

“We were kind of thinking, later first (round), early second,” he said late Thursday night after being selected. “It was a toss up. I’m just happy that I got picked by the Washington Commanders.”

Dotson also said he didn’t spend much time with Washington during the draft process.

Dotson is a small, but electric playmaking wide receiver that can also return punts. He put up pretty good numbers last year at Penn State, hauling in 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns — playmaker numbers.

Washington fans probably wanted a bigger name if they were going to draft a receiver — and could have gotten one of them with the 11th pick — but if Dotson can be another threat for the offense and help take some pressure off McLaurin, then everyone will be happy.

George Wallace

George Wallace is the WTOP sports director. He began at WTOP on Christmas Day of 2000.

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