You can like the Jahan Dotson pick and also have wanted more


There's nothing really wrong about the Commanders' first-round selection of Jahan Dotson. If you want to quibble and label it as a reach, that's fair, but Washington was still able to execute a trade on Thursday to acquire more draft capital while also improving its offensive ceiling, which are two estimable actions.

In all, it's a very likable sequence of events — yet a question lingers anyway: Could the franchise have pulled off something lovable?

At their original spot of 11th overall, the Commanders had the chance to pick Alabama wideout Jameson Williams as well as Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. The former, with a recently-torn ACL that may significantly limit his rookie campaign, makes field-flipping touchdowns look like mid-afternoon jogs, and the latter is hailed as a do-it-all safety that's perfect for the modern game.

Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew, however, opted to do a deal with the Saints. Thanks to the swap with New Orleans, Washington obtained a third-round choice and an extra fourth-rounder, two assets that are of importance when it comes to this year's well-rounded-but-not-elite class.

Soon after that transaction, the Commanders called on Dotson, the Penn State product who's got long speed and ever-reliable hands. But in reflecting on the night, Mayhew revealed something that was impossible to brush off.


"We had opportunities to go back pretty far in it," the general manager said about another move down once his squad shifted to No. 16. "We had teams that were in the teens. We had one team in the twenties and we had one team in the thirties that we were talking to."

And therein lies the other half of Thursday that could nag at those who follow the Commanders.

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Instead of staying put at 11 and ending up with either a pass catcher or a defensive back with terrific ceilings or swinging multiple trades to really amass a bounty of picks, Washington did a little of one and a little of the other.

Dotson, with no injury issues to speak of and skills that suggest he should be a complementary target right away, has the feel of a draftee who can be solid, at the very least. Total, undeniable star? No one can truly predict that, yet those who study these prospects so closely would almost certainly rank his potential behind that of Williams and Hamilton.

As for the two additional cards the franchise can now turn in as a result of its switch with the Saints? Those are welcome commodities for an organization that was rather dormant in free agency and requires more reinforcements. Having established that, what kind of trove would Rivera and Mayhew possess if they slid down the board again?

Commending the Commanders for their opening to the draft is a viable stance to take, and this story is in no way meant to claim that they wholly botched the proceedings and ought to be banned from further participation. The decision-makers actually in charge of what occurs definitely are proud of their first-round feats.

"Moving back, we felt pretty comfortable with it and probably the biggest thing, more than anything else, is one of the guys we really liked was there and that's why we jumped on it," Rivera explained.

For an operation that's lacked conviction and a complete commitment for years, though, watching Washington once again settle in between landing supreme talent or securing serious resources left a bit to be desired.

If Dotson emerges over the next couple of seasons and his fellow rookies do, too, then this argument can be ridiculed and eventually forgotten. But if the returns are middling much like the moves were, then the regret could be major.