The Commanders selected Dotson with the No. 16 overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft after he tore up opposing Big Ten defenses during his collegiate days at Penn State University. As a senior at Penn State, Dotson caught 91 passes for 1,182 yards while adding 12 touchdown receptions.
Standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing 184 pounds, Dotson’s frame is not typically ideal for an outside NFL receiver who needs to make contested catches, but he has made it work. His blend of speed, athleticism, ball skills, and competitiveness have enabled him to overcome the lack of size and win on all three levels of the field.
Dotson suffered a hamstring injury in the Commanders’ Week 4 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The injury kept him sidelined from Weeks 5-9, forcing him to miss five games. Despite missing extensive time due to injury, Dotson still finished seventh among rookies in receiving yards in 2022 (523).
In addition to battling injury, Dotson also had to overcome the poor quarterback play of Commanders quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke. The Commanders ranked near the bottom of the NFL in passing yards and completion percentage while also being one of six teams to throw at least 16 interceptions as a team.
Despite all of these things working against Dotson, he managed to log 35 receptions for 523 yards and seven touchdowns in his rookie season. He averaged 14.9 yards per catch, which was the tenth-highest in the entire NFL.
New Season, New Opportunities
Dotson now enters the 2023 season with a new quarterback and offensive coordinator. Sam Howell, who the team drafted in the fifth round of last year’s NFL Draft, has been named the starting quarterback for the Commanders. Howell started the team’s 2022 regular-season finale versus the Dallas Cowboys and has seized the starting job.
Howell was a college standout at the University of North Carolina. He eclipsed 3,000 passing yards and 24 passing touchdowns in each of his three seasons with the Tar Heels before being drafted by the Commanders. Reports surrounding him this offseason have been glowing and he’s backed it up with a strong preseason performance.
While there is uncertainty surrounding whether or not he is ready to be an NFL starting quarterback, there is a level of certainty that he is an upgrade to the team’s starting quarterback position. Wentz is currently a free agent and Heinicke is now backing up another second-year quarterback, Desmond Ridder, for the Atlanta Falcons.
This offseason, the Commanders hired former offensive coordinator of the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Bieniemy, to be their assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. His experience with future Hall of Fame head coach Andy Reid, superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and the Chiefs will enable him to know how to use a player as talented as Dotson and maximize his strengths.
Moreover, Commanders No. 1 wide receiver Terry McLaurin is currently dealing with a toe injury he suffered in the preseason that is expected to keep him sidelined for Week 1 of the regular season when the Commanders will host the Arizona Cardinals and possibly more. McLaurin’s absence creates additional opportunity for Dotson.
Entering 2023, Dotson’s receiving prop total is set at 725.5, per FanDuel Sportsbook. Considering he came close to that number as a rookie who dealt with an injury, below-average quarterback play, and lack of offensive creativity, he makes for a great bet to go over that total this season.
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