Dotson was watching NBA Playoffs when he got call from Washington

Jahan Dotson

Jahan Dotson was already on his cell phone when it started to buzz midway through the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, But that wasn't because he was antsy for it to ring.

Dotson, the Penn State wideout who the Washington Commanders selected 16th overall, was streaming the NBA playoffs on his phone during his draft party when he got the call from head coach Ron Rivera.

"It was crazy. I couldn't believe it at first," Dotson said in a Zoom call with local media shortly after being picked. "I was watching the Suns-Pelicans game on my phone and Coach Rivera called me. I couldn't believe I was getting the phone call.

"Obviously I had to answer it, but I didn't know when to answer it," Dotson continued. "I just had to take a step away from everyone and talk to Coach Rivera. He introduced himself and said he was really excited to have me and that they were going to pick me."

Dotson went on to say that watching the Suns-Pelicans contest helped him pass time smoothly as he waited to hear his name called and "just helped get my mind off it."

Pre-draft, where Dotson was going to be selected was a mystery. Some draft experts viewed him as a mid-to-late first-rounder, while others considered him an early second-round pick.

Ultimately, the Commanders selected the 22-year-old 16th overall, earlier than Dotson himself even expected.


"I had no idea where I was going to go tonight," Dotson said. "We were kind of thinking later first, early second. It was a toss-up. I could've went either one."

During the pre-draft cycle, Dotson didn't have much communication with the Commanders. The wideout said he had just one meeting with the organization -- and it came with receivers coach Drew Terrell.

So, when Dotson got the call from Rivera that he was going to be a Commander, he even was a bit shocked.

"I hadn't heard anything from Washington, so it was a surprise to me," Dotson said.

The former Nittany Lions standout was the fifth wide receiver taken in the first 16 picks. Atlanta selected USC's Drake London, the first pass-catcher off the board, at No. 8. Ohio State's Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave went back-to-back picks Nos. 10 and 11, with the latter heading to New Orleans after the Saints traded with Washington to move up five spots. Alabama star Jameson Williams went one pick later to Detroit, who also traded up to select a wideout.

Regardless of how it happened, the Commanders spent their first-round pick on a wide receiver, a position that certainly needed help alongside star Terry McLaurin. Dotson is looking forward to the opportunity.

"I'm just happy I got picked by the Washington Commanders and I'm ready to get to work with these guys," Dotson said.