Josh Doctson appeared in just two games during the 2016 season, but the 24-year-old is ready to put his rookie year behind him in hopes of a rebound campaign in 2017.
When the Washington Redskins selected 2015 unanimous All-American Josh Doctson in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the playmaker was expected to be a red zone threat from the get-go. Its what the coaching staff had envisioned for him, even with proven veterans Rob Kelley and Jordan Reed around. He had proven to be nearly unstoppable inside the 20-yard line during his college career playing against Big 12 competition.
But the plan never quite panned out, as the 24-year-old dealt with Achilles injuries that would linger from early summer into the fall. He would appear in the first two games of the season before eventually being placed on Injured Reserve in October.
"It was frustrating, but looking back those two games were better than nothing," Doctson said on Monday. "You know, at the time and point you're mad, but at the end of the season you look on it. I gave it a go; I was able to play two games. It was unfortunate for the injury to get significantly worse as I continued to try to play, but I'm just going to take the positives out of the whole negative and just run with it and just know that next year, you know I did get my feet wet a little bit, I know what it feels like to be out there, catch a football and stuff like that. I'll just take that and move that momentum for next year."
Doctson's snaps were limited in those two appearances – Week 1 and 2 games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys – but they did provide a slight glimpse as to what the Redskins want to get out of him.
They tried a few end zone fade routes to him against the Cowboys before he caught a 57-yard reception as a streaking Jamison Crowder played decoy.
Had the ball not been slightly underthrown, Doctson could have potentially turned in a 79-yard touchdown reception. Still, it was a play that showed why, if healthy, the coaching staff remains optimistic about his future.
Doctson said he's already feeling a lot better and is on track for a return during OTAs.
With the 22nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected wide receiver Josh Doctson of TCU. Take a look at his collegiate career in photos.
"Hopefully he can ramp it up …here in the next couple weeks and start running and moving, because he's going to be a big part of our plans next year if he's healthy," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said.
While Doctson was only able to prepare for two games during the 2016 season, the TCU product knows he must change his routines prior to each week's kickoff.
"I still don't have that quite down in terms of what I do pregame, what my body likes, what my body doesn't like, things like that," Doctson said. "But playing I was able, you know, the confidence and the calmness I had on the field, that's one of the things I won't forget and I want to be able to replicate next year when I get on the field again."
Doctson plans to split his training over the next few months between the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park and locations on the West Coast, but unlike last season where his focus was on NFL Combine drills, he'll be working on pieces of his game that will make him a better player in the long run.
"It's a unique process training for the combine, something that you'll never have to do again in your life," Doctson said. "Something you've probably never done, something that kind of affected my body a little different. But you know right now I'm just staying fluid, staying in shape and making sure I know all positions, so I can't really come off the field next year."