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After finishing his college career ranked among the best wide receivers in Penn State history, Dotson was drafted by the Commanders with the No. 16 overall pick and put together one of the better rookie campaigns of the year. Despite missing five games with a hamstring injury, Dotson was still seventh among all rookies in yards (523) and tied for first in touchdowns (7).
Dotson has already shown that he is a step or two ahead of where other rookie wideouts might be in their development with his hands, route running and overall approach to the game. Engram's job is to help Dotson build on those traits and make strides in his development in Year 2.
"For me, from Year 1 to Year 2, I think that's when some young players can make their biggest jump," Engram said.
Fortunately, there are a lot of things that Dotson does really well. He can create separation quickly at the line of scrimmage with his quickness, and even if a defensive back is able to stick with him, he knows how to come down with the ball on contested catches. In the first three weeks of the 2022 season, he had the second highest receiving grade on contested targets, per Pro Football Focus, second only to Mike Williams.
Engram said Dotson has "God-given ability," and that much has been clear when he watches film from last season.
"He's got great hands, he understands how to run routes and set guys up," Engram said. "He plays fast, and he's a guy that's dependable and reliable, but he also has big play ability."
Dotson put that on display at several points during his rookie season. Aside from the two touchdowns he scored that helped Washington defeat the Jaguars in Week 1, he also had grabs of 40, 31, 61 and 30 yards in Weeks 2, 4, 15 and 16, respectively.
As promising as Dotson's rookie performance was, Engram knows he can be better, and he has already spoken with Dotson on what he can do to improve.
"We kind of talked about some of the things that he wants to focus on, but number one is...take care of your body," Engram said. "He has some unforeseen soft tissue injuries last year, so he'll handle that."
Dotson tweaked his hamstring against the Dallas Cowboys, and it was a lingering issue that sidelined him from Weeks 5-9. At the time of his injury, Dotson was tied with Stefon Diggs for the most receiving touchdowns in the league (4), and while Dotson eventually returned to form, it took three games, during which he only made two catches for 27 yards, to do so.
So, staying healthy will be a point of emphasis for Dotson as he goes through the offseason. If he does, Dotson could have an even bigger impact in 2023.
"You can always get better," Engram said. "And I think that's part of the longevity. You figure out no matter where you are in your development, it's up to me as a coach, us as a staff, and then the player has to put the work in. You never stop getting better, and to me, that's exciting."
Once Dotson gets back in the building, Engram wants to make sure he is maximizing Dotson's talent. He'll have a plan for how to do that with the second-year pro as well as the entire position group.
"I'll have a plan and a vision for each and every guy," Engram said. "Every guy has a skill set and things that they do really well. We want to focus on those and just have a plan to minimize the weaknesses of things that they may not do well."