At Wednesday's open OTA session in Ashburn, Josh Doctson did one thing he's becoming known for and another thing he has hardly done since turning pro in 2016. And when you put those two acts together, you start to see why his third season as a Redskin could be the one where he breaks out.
The former was what's becoming his signature play as a wideout: a graceful, leaping snare. This particular highlight came against Orlando Scandrick off a nice throw from Alex Smith, one that No. 18 was able to come down with despite Scandrick's challenge. While Doctson's first full year as a pro in 2017 wasn't consistent, he showed a knack for these kinds of acrobatic grabs (such as his first career score vs. Oakland, this one in Dallas and this beauty in New Orleans).
So, that was encouraging to see the 25-year-old up to his usual tricks. What was even more encouraging, though, was what followed the two-hour on-field practice Washington's players took part in.
Aside from his scheduled speaking engagements — times like his post-draft pressers, training camp sitdowns and post-game media scrums in games where he stood out — Doctson hasn't talked much. But there he was after signing autographs for service members who attended this installment of the 'Skins' offseason program, in the middle of reporters and answering a host of questions.
It was not only refreshing to see him taking part in this ritual that plenty of his more talkative teammates go through each time they put on a uniform; it was also refreshing to hear what he had to say about his growth.
"The biggest thing is confidence level," Doctson said, noting that he feels his increasing as he continues to get settled in. "It's kind of surreal when you first get here, then last year was my first year playing. [Last year] kind of calmed it down and now I'm just back like I was at TCU."
This is the part of the story where you should be reminded that at TCU, the 6-foot-3 target totaled 25 touchdowns as a junior and senior. If he's finally feeling like he did in school, then he'll be getting a lot of looks from his new QB, and that relationship is one that Jay Gruden spoke about in his time at the podium.
"This year is just a matter of reps and getting to know Alex and just being precise in what he does," Gruden said. "He's an ultra-talented kid, without a doubt."
The former first-rounder has progressed slowly, slower than the Redskins would've liked. As a rookie, he hardly suited up. As a sophomore, meanwhile, he suited up every week and showed hints of stardom but also hints of inexperience.
That means 2018 is his time to capitalize. He's paired with an experienced passer who seems awfully willing to give him chances, and his impromptu meeting with reporters — something that's commonplace for tons of athletes but hasn't been for him — indicates that his comfort level is rising.
As Doctson put it, he's crawled, he's walked and now he's ready to run. You should expect plenty of jumping and landing in the end zone from him as well, especially if he's ready to return to his TCU form.
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