Despite being a first-round pick in 2016, wide receiver Josh Doctson never logged a 100-yard game for the Redskins. He never grabbed more than six passes in a game either. Doctson never came close to a 1,000-yard season in Washington, and finally, the years of poor production caught up to him.
Washington moved on from Doctson on Saturday, but in a lot of ways, the decision came months ago when the team did not exercise the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.
It's no mystery how things got here.
Doctson was a surprise pick when the Redskins took him 22nd overall in 2016. At the time, the team had gaping needs on the defensive line and stud WRs like DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon and Jamison Crowder. Former general manager Scot McCloughan took Doctson anyway, and talked about his incredible athletic potential.
That never materialized, as Doctson missed most of his rookie year with a mysterious Achilles injury. In his second year, the breakout never happened. His best game came in a loss to New Orleans, where he had four catches for 81 yards. Last year, his third in the system and as the undisputed starter, his best game was in a loss to the Giants. He made four grabs for 84 yards. Those two games were the highest single-game yardage totals of his career.
Put simply, Doctson never produced at the rate of a first-round pick. He hardly produced at the rate of a late-round pick.
And this year, Washington pulled the plug on the experiment. The team drafted two new wideouts in Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon, and when McLaurin impressed everybody during training camp and proved he could play Doctson's position, the former TCU star became expendable.
Could Washington have kept Doctson instead of unproven guys like Harmon, undrafted rookie Steven Sims or Robert Davis? Sure. Some might argue that would be the more prudent move even, becuase while Doctson is far from a star, he has shown some NFL level ability. The rest of these guys have not.
But this was also about a fresh start for the receiver group. Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn are expected to start along with McLaurin. After that, Davis, Harmon and Sims will be young and hungry, and certainly willing to listen. There are some inside the team's Redskins Park facility that say Doctson didn't always show those characteristics, especially as his roster prospects grew dimmer.
McCloughan was the one who liked and defended Doctson. He's been gone now for two seasons. Jay Gruden always talked up Doctson's potential too.
But sooner or later, potential needs to translate to production. With Doctson, that never happened, and that's why his time in Burgundy and Gold is done.
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