Commanders were so high on Dotson, pre-draft visit was unnecessary


Jahan Dotson made quite the impression on Ron Rivera, Martin Mayhew and the rest of the Commanders’ front office prior to draft day. The Penn State wideout not only wowed on the field, but according to Rivera, Washington didn’t even need to bring Dotson in on a visit before calling his name at No. 16.

Rivera explained what went behind that decision on a recent episode of The Rich Eisen Show podcast. 

“We had a good stack of players that were available. One of the guys in that group was Jahan, who we felt very, very good about,” Rivera said. “We felt so good about him that we didn’t bring him in on a [top-] thirty visit just because we felt like we knew enough about him, that he was the kind of guy that we had hoped to get a chance at, and sure enough we did.”

In the weeks leading up to the draft, every NFL team gets to invite up to 30 prospects to their facility in what is essentially a job interview. Players meet with the coaching staff and take physicals in order for the team to better gauge each prospect.

Confidence was so high on Dotson, Rivera said, the Commanders didn’t feel it necessary to bring him in on a top-30 visit. But there’s another reason why Washington didn’t bring the wide receiver in for the interview: they also didn’t want to signal intent to the rest of the NFL on their plans.


“He was a guy we didn’t have really any questions on,” Rivera said. “We had over six of our personnel there for his pro day, they did a lot of background on him while they were there. We’ve done a lot of background on him throughout. We just felt like this was a guy we didn’t have any questions on, so we didn’t want to raise any flags as far as he was concerned, so we opted not to bring him in.”

Dotson echoed the fact that he hadn’t had much communication with the Commanders prior to hearing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell say his name last Thursday. Dotson said he “had one meeting with coach [Drew] Terrell, the receivers coach, and that was pretty much about it.”

Rivera also noted on draft night that increased communication with Dotson was unnecessary, purely given the sheer talent the Nittany Lion exhibited with shaky quarterback plan in his final year in college. It was an easy call for Washington when they were on the clock at 16.

“When you're in a position we were, and you had guys that were still available, we thought it was a good shot or a good risk to take him, and we were very comfortable with our decision,” Rivera said. “We had a number of quality guys, we didn't feel we would go wrong with any of them.”

Dotson now steps into a wide receiver squad alongside Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Cam Sims and Dyami Brown, among others. With Carson Wentz’s downfield style to complement his game as a dual-threat target on both shallow and deep routes, Dotson’s potential in the slot will be of special interest to Rivera and company in 2022.