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2022 NFL draft scouting report: Penn State WR Jahan Dotson

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Penn State WR Jahan Dotson

5-foot-11
178 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.01 — possible first-rounder; possible immediate starter

TL;DR scouting report

Small-framed speed merchant with excellent hands and route-running ability but lacks play strength and tackle-breaking skill

The skinny

A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 164 nationally) in the Class of 2018, Dotson chose the Nittany Lions over a host of schools all over the country. He played in eight games (four starts) as a true freshman in 2018, recording 13 catches for 203 yards. In 2019, Dotson started all 13 games, catching 27 passes for 488 yards and five scores and returning two punts for 39 yards.

As a junior in 2020, he had 52 receptions for 884 yards and eight touchdowns and eight punt returns for 197 yards, including an 81-yard TD return, in nine starts. Dotson started 12 games in 2021, logging 91 catches for 1,182 yards and 12 TDs; six rushes for 18 yards and a TD; returning 14 punts for 104 yards; and completing 2 of 2 passes for 43 yards. He opted out of the Outback Bowl to begin his NFL draft prep and opted out of the Senior Bowl.

Penn State's Jahan Dotson is a back-end first-round prospect at wide receiver. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Penn State's Jahan Dotson is a back-end first-round prospect at wide receiver. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Upside

  • Vertical speed to take the top off a defense

  • Decent length for smaller receiver — extends outside his frame well

  • Can burst off the line and out of his breaks

  • Loose, twitchy hips to cut, pivot quickly and change vectors

  • Will work back to the ball in scramble drills

  • Can stress and stack corners in a hurry — several fly-bys on tape

  • Smooth gear change to surprise DBs

  • Strong, reliable hands — very few drops evident on tape

  • Great body control on the sideline and adjusting to overthrows

  • Jitterbug with the ball — darts and ducks to make first man miss

  • Lethal in space — give him a crease, and he's gone

  • Three-level threat — can attack deep, intermediate and short

  • Clear, demonstrable growth from one season to the next

  • Averaged 98.4 receiving yards in final 21 college outings

  • Dangerous punt returner — career 13.5-yard average

  • Earned role as effective jet-sweep runner (and decoy) in 2021

  • Trick-play potential — 2-of-2 passing, 43 yards in 2021

Downside

  • Very lean build — not a ton of sub-180-pound receivers in the NFL

  • Play strength is well below average

  • Disappointing 3-cone drill time (7.28) for his size

  • Will drift a bit on crossing routes and get off his mark

  • Not as effective plucking off-target passes below his shoulders

  • Doesn't break many tackles

  • Fighting for contested catches just isn't his game

  • Played plenty outside but has the build of a slot receiver predominantly

  • Minimal blocking impact felt

  • Missed out on chance to help himself at Senior Bowl

Best-suited destination

In a perfect role, Dotson would be a Day 1 slot receiver and punt returner for a team seeking an extra dose of juice on offense. He might be able to work outside, but we believe his best position will be to stress defenses vertically from the inside while also able to work the middle and underneath with his quickness. Among the teams we could see interested in his services include the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns.

Did you know

Dotson was a track star also at Nazareth Area High School, where he won the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) state championships in the 4x100 relay and the long jump as a sophomore in 2016. He was Nazareth’s first PIAA individual champion since 1970. After spending one year at The Peddie School in New Jersey as a junior, Dotson returned to Nazareth and won the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference crown in the 100 and 200 meters, as well as the 4x100 relay in 2018 as a senior.

Player comp

Marquise Brown

Expected draft range

Late first-round pick.