What does it take to transition from college football to professional NFL football? That’s the question surrounding Josh Doctson. Philadelphia Eagles Coach Doug Pederson keeps fielding questions about the athlete.
And reporters are not the only ones curious about the Redskins wide receiver. Fans cannot help but wonder what he can do on the field, whether he has the capacity to boost production against the Eagles and how he will affect thein the long run.
Pederson needs to worry about Doctson because he will have a hard time getting his team ready for the wide receiver. There are no NFL game tapes of Doctson to review, no prior data from his professional football career for the Eagles Coach to analyze.
Doctson sustained Achilles tendon injuries that completely removed him from play last season. That means Doctson will be a mystery to Pederson’s players when the Eagles face the Redskins on Sunday.
The Redskins are hoping that Doctson delivers in spades. The team is still struggling with the departure of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Doctson needs to fill that void and he needs to do so quickly.
Doctson’s final two seasons at Texas Christian saw him garner a record of 143 catches for 2,340 yards and 25TDs. The Redskins scooped him up in the 2016 draft because they judged him to be the best receiver available.
Doctson needs to justify the Redskins’ decision to ignore their defensive needs in favor of using their first round pick to acquire him. The Redskins are not hiding the fact that Doctson is as much a mystery to them as he is to the Eagles.
Sure, they have seen him in practice. The Spring Sessions and the preseason manifested the athlete’s prowess as the most complete wide receiver on the team. His physicality isn’t in doubt either. Sure, he has a few kinks.
But with proper training and a few games under his belt, Doctson could be polished into a weapon that will be widely feared. However, just because Doctson looks good in practice doesn’t mean his abilities will translate into concrete results in a real game.
Real NFL games are far more frenetic and they boast much greater speeds. The number of receivers who excelled in college only to stumble in the NFL is large. Once push comes to shove and Doctson finally steps onto the field on Sunday to play in a real NFL game, there is no telling whether he will shine or extinguish.
Coach Jay Gruden sounded optimistic when he was questioned on the issue. He doesn’t expect Doctson to exceed expectations. But he also doesn’t expect the athlete to flounder and fail.
Jay believes Doctson will perform exactly as expected.
Doctson’s performance might hinge on his mental state. If he has confidence in his body despite his previous injuries, then he will probably live up to Jay’s expectations. The athlete hasn’t had much prep time.
Jay expects that there will be a process of transition as Doctson adapts to the environment and to his teammates. Doctson is a smooth route runner. He is also a natural wide receiver. All signs point to him organically falling into the routine of things once the Sunday game starts.