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Jahan Dotson continues to stand out in OTAs

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The first few weeks in the NFL can be a flurry of change for rookies. Each day brings a mountain of new information for them to dig through, so it's understandable if they need time to adjust to the new way of life.

Apparently, no one told Jahan Dotson that.

As the Commanders have powered through their OTAs, Dotson has noticeably improved each day. Much of what enticed the team to take him with the 16th overall pick; he's running crisp routes and getting open while working against the starting defense in team drills.

That production has his new coaches and teammates excited to see what he can do during the regular season.

"He's done a nice job," offensive coordinator Scott Turner told reporters after last Wednesday's OTA. "He came in, it looks like it's not too big for him. He's playing fast. He's consistently getting separation, he's catching the ball."

Dotson doesn't say a lot during practice, Turner said, but then again, he doesn't need to be vocal to show what he can do. From the time he first arrived at the Commanders' facility for rookie minicamp, coach Ron Rivera said Dotson looked "as solid as advertised," which was made clear by the catches he made from Sam Howell during individual drills.

The hope when Dotson first got drafted was that he would be able to add another dimension to the Commanders' offense with his ability to make contested catches and stretch the field. And based on what Rivera saw from two days of practice, there was nothing that disputed that notion.

"They'll have to spread their defense out even more," Rivera said of what adding Dotson will force opponents to do. "That's what you want when you have playmakers. And everybody's gotta understand there's only one ball and it's only gonna get to so many people in the game, but everybody has to do their job when you got guys with that kind of ability."

The Washington Commanders wrapped up Week 2 of Phase 3 on Thursday. Check out the top shots from practice. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

That production didn't drop off once the rest of the team arrived in Ashburn, Virginia, for OTAs. He hasn't shown off much of his ability as a downfield threat, but he has been getting open and making catches during individual and team drills.

In fact, his growth has been surprising to his teammates.

"Just to see a young rookie come in and be so developed," running back J.D. McKissic said on what he likes about Dotson. "He's running crisp routes. I'm very shocked at how quick he's learned the offense … He's doing incredible. He's flying around, making plays."

Turner said he's been a friendly target for Carson Wentz and the rest of the quarterbacks, and that was clear during last Wednesday's OTA. He delivered the play of the day when he snatched a pass that Wentz threaded between two defenders for a touchdown.

It was one of several positive plays he made throughout the day, though, as he was wide open for several plays in the middle of the field. What's more impressive is that Dotson is making plays from a variety of spots on the field, which has been Turner's plan for the first-round wideout from the start.

"He's kind of learning everything," Turner said. "Jahan's a guy you can move around. He's versatile and he's shown that ever since the moment he got here."

It's become a regular occurrence to see progress from Dotson over the past month. He's promised to work hard every day, and he's lived up to that throughout the offseason so far.

There's still plenty of time between now and the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but his strides do create optimism for the offense in 2022.

"I think he was probably one of the guys who's really season ready," Rivera said. "He's a guy who's gonna come in, and he's a pro already. He understands what he's supposed to do, how he needs to do it.

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