I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.To read more about the 2016 NFL Draft Project, Click Here.
Josh Doctson, WR, TCU - 6'3, 195 - RS Senior - #9
The 2015 TCU offense was something that will be long remembered in the Big 12, partly for its amazing dominance and then partly for its unfulfilling final month. The ending from their trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma on in was filled with injuries and the most significant went to Doctson who suffered a rather gruesome wrist injury and despite trying to return, effectively ended his season on November 7th. But, by that time he had already put the college football world and the draft community on notice that this late-bloomer has a chance to work his way all the way into the 1st round with a positively absurd production rate through the (basically) 9 games he did play in as well as his work in 2014.
His road to this spot is certainly not that of a player who had everything given to him. He grew up a fan of TCU, but then was not appealing as a recruit so he went to Wyoming. After a year there, he decided to return home, but had to walk-on at TCU to prove himself. From there he has simply developed into one of the most spectacular receivers in all of college football with a build that combines with amazing aerial skills that allow him to win just about any battle for a catch in the air. He averaged over 140 yards per game and had 14 touchdowns in just slightly over 9 starts. In other words, his QB, Trevone Boykin forced the ball into Doctson and nobody could slow them down all year until the injury hit, leaving many to wonder what might have been in their final year together in Fort Worth.
Now, that partnership is over, and the question becomes how far up draft boards can this redshirt senior go?
What I liked: He plays with a confidence that you want from a potential X receiver who is a lead dog and able to be a go-to guy. He runs routes off the same stem with great effectiveness and can get DBs turned around or so freaked out about the deep shot that he can take 10-12 yards on comebacks, outs, and digs all day long. He certainly is not a burner, but he quickly gets the opponent on notice and mixes up his routes pretty well. Then, where he is truly special is the battle for the ball. This can be both on the ground in slants or routes between defenders in a zone or it can be in the air. In the air, as the videos will clearly show, he doesn't lose very much. He goes up and finds the ball and then secures it with the ability to use his body as a buffer with surprising strength for his weight and then is acrobatic enough to make the catch and secure the ball before hitting the ground. He did it repeatedly and often enough that it shows it is no fluke. He is a special red zone threat. He will block on run plays with at least average effectiveness.
What I did not like:There is no question that he will attract attention at the Combine for both his measureables - height and weight - and his 40-time. He is certainly tall and 6'3 is perfect, but the questions will be whether he is able to carry much more weight than the 195 he has been listed at. The battles at the release are much more ferocious on Sundays and when he faces more press coverage, will he have some bulk to work with will be vital. Some scouts make this sort of thing the difference between a Round 1 and a Round 4 prospect. Can he get off at the snap versus NFL press? Also, he has been estimated to be about a 4.5 40 guy, which again is right at the type of time that Dez Bryant runs, so that should be fine - just need to get to that time when it counts. He does have about 1 random and unexplainable drop each game this past fall in the 5 games I watched for this study and I would describe those as perhaps volume drops because his hand skills seem pretty strong overall. In those cases, he was seeing the ball sometimes 20 times in a game so a drop in concentration is almost to be expected.
Summary and Potential Fit For the Cowboys: Doctson is in the top 50 and maybe even in the mix for the 1st round. He has really shown he is willing to work hard and figure out what is needed and then he plays with a confidence and a competiveness that teams are going to want to get their hands on. He knows he is good and isn't afraid to show it. Also, with that catch radius and flair for the spectacular, it is easy to see why we should not be shocked if he doesn't get to that Dallas pick at the top of Round 2. But, if he does, expect the name to be quite high on their board. The fan-base salivates with getting another highlight film receiver opposite Dez Bryant for 2016. You can never have too many weapons. And make no mistake, Josh Doctson looks like a weapon in the NFL for years to come.