Film Study: Josh Doctson

The Washington Redskins have not had the luxury of a true redzone threat on offense for years now. That’s not to say that the 2015 stable of weapons lacked potency by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a roster filled with similar sized players with similar skill sets.

Those days are now a thing of the past with the addition of rookie Wide Receiver Josh Doctson.

At 6’2 and over 200lbs, Doctson brings size to the receiving corps that needed to rely on schemes that enabled receivers to create separation from defenders in order to move the chains. With Doctson, however, Kirk Cousins now has a whole new world of options in the bag. Doctson brings a unique skill set to the Redskins that should make the offense of this time more potent than it has been in a long, long time.

In this post today, we’re breaking down precisely what those skills are by showing you film and explaining what exactly it is that makes Doctson such an exciting young weapon.

Ball skills & Catch radius

First and foremost the most exciting talent that Doctson brings to Washington lies within his ability to get his hands on to the ball, regardless of whether or not the throw was pinpoint accurate. He high points the ball exceptionally well, and tracks the ball in the air with aplomb. Importantly, it is rare for a ball to hit his hands and not result in a catch; drops are not an issue that has plagued Doctson throughout his collegiate career.

By utilizing his impressive size and length, Doctson enables himself to haul in catches that are thrown above, behind, or in front of him, which gives a Quarterback like Kirk Cousins an added security blanket as he has been known to throw a few errant passes behind receivers at times.


Whilst Doctson isn’t the fastest Wide Receiver going around when it comes to top speed (he clocked in a 4.50 40 yard dash at the combine), his acceleration and burst is superb. Doctson’s 4.08 second 20 yard shuttle was one of the top performances from a Wide Receiver at the combine, and his college game tape is filled with examples of him creating quick separation against defenders with his first few steps. This was especially true when it came to yards after the catch.


Given his size advantage, defenders in college frequently had to to try and out-body Doctson in an effort to stop him.

The key word there was try.

Doctson isn’t the type of receiver who avoids physical contact; he thrives when defenders play him physically because he knows that he can beat them in battles of strength and body control whilst still hauling in catches. Redskins fans who were seeing and hearing Doctson for the first time on Thursday night during the first round of the draft can be forgiven for thinking he’s a quiet and unassuming type of player, but this couldn’t be further from the truth once the pads go on and the game begins. He plays with a tenacity and an attitude that will earn the adulation of fans quickly, and that attitude is part of what helps him to maintain an edge over the Cornerbacks who tried and so often failed to contain him.

Body control

If you had to select one aspect of Doctson’s game that explains his success, it would be his body control. The way he can maneuver himself with such poise allows him to get into a position –often whilst mid-air– that sees his hands finding their way around the football securely.

No more is this evident than in jump ball situations. Doctson can be tracking a ball in the air looking over his back shoulder, and as he jumps he’ll leave the ground facing forwards, and by the time he has reached the apex of his jump his entire body has turned, he is under the ball, and his hands are rising to meet it at it’s high point. It truly is a thing of beauty to watch him do this, and it’s a trait that so few Wide Receivers have in their bag of tricks.




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