NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: WR Josh Doctson

NY Jets (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ wide receiver Josh Doctson will be given one final opportunity in 2020.

The NY Jets will have an open competition at the wide receiver position this summer and one player who will have an opportunity to earn a roster spot is Josh Doctson.

The Jets signed Doctson this past February after the former first-round pick of the Washington Redskins had been out of work since he was released by the Minnesota Vikings last November. Now, he’s being given one final opportunity to salvage his NFL career.

It’s a career that once looked so promising as a first-round pick coming out of TCU back in 2016. Unfortunately, a nagging Achilles injury held him out for the entire preseason in his rookie season and he was limited to just two games in the regular season.

He would return to full health the following season playing in all 16 games, but he failed to live up to his first-round status. Doctson finished the season with just 35 catches for 502 yards but he did manage to score six touchdowns in the process.

That said, 35 catches over a 16-game span while filling a starting role is hardly impressive. And he failed to improve much the following season totaling 44 receptions for 532 yards while seeing his touchdown total drop to a lowly two.

The Redskins declined his fifth-year option and subsequently released Docston as part of final roster cuts in 2019 before his rookie deal had even expired — the ultimate sign of a first-round bust.

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The Vikings gave him a shot soon after that but he was almost immediately placed on the injured reserve. Doctson was activated off the IR in mid-November and he would go on to play in just one game recording seven offensive snaps and no stats before being released once again.

Doctson failed in Washington and Minnesota, but how could he ensure that doesn’t happen in New York?

How Josh Doctson can find success with the NY Jets in 2020

Doctson’s shortcomings with the Redskins and Vikings were caused primarily by two issues — injuries and inconsistencies. And when it boils down to it, that’s typically what ends most NFL players’ careers.

Doctson’s rookie season was rendered a wash following his Achilles injury and he never really had a chance in Minnesota for the same reason. For starters, Doctson must stay healthy with the Jets to actually have a chance at making the roster.

Another untimely injury could be the final nail in the coffin for Doctson’s career. Unfortunately, staying healthy is mostly out of his control.

That being said, it’s impossible to blame Doctson’s failures solely on his injuries. After all, he was given two years as a full-time starter with the Redskins that ultimately amounted to nothing.

They didn’t release him because he was injury-prone. He played in 31 of 32 possible games from 2017 to 2018 and did next to nothing to show the Redskins that he should be a part of the future.

So what went wrong?

Doctson was considered a raw, unpolished receiver coming out of TCU. He had the physical potential to be an excellent player in the NFL, but his route-running and consistency remained troublesome.

We saw those weaknesses manifest themselves in a big way in the pros. Doctson struggled to separate and despite his large frame, he wasn’t particularly effective in jump-ball situations.

The physicality he once showed at TCU was all but gone and his hands remained all too inconsistent. This isn’t to say that he didn’t flash — because he did. There were times in 2017 that Doctson looked like a star in the making.

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But ultimately, those instances were few are far between. If he is to have any success with the Jets in 2020, those “flash” instances need to be much more commonplace.

He needs to win in more jump-ball situations and run more efficient routes. Doctson has the talent to be a quality NFL receiver, but his inconsistencies have been arguably his biggest obstacle to this point.

In a very thin Jets wide receiver corps, Doctson will be given every opportunity to succeed. Combine that with his first-round pedigree and he should have an ‘in’ to a roster spot if he flashes enough.

In a perfect optimistic world (because that’s the world we’re looking at here folks), Doctson impresses in the summer and earns a roster spot. He then plays well enough in limited opportunities to force the Jets to give him more offensive snaps as the year goes on.

And going into 2021, he’s managed to salvage his career and is now a regular fixture in the sets offense. It’s possible, but not probable.

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Josh Doctson could save his career, but it will require him staying healthy and becoming a more consistent player. If those things happen, he could still manage a successful NFL career.