NFL executive compares Penn State Football’s Jahan Dotson to … Barry Sanders

Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Jahan Dotson (Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Jahan Dotson (Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Penn State Football wide receiver Jahan Dotson drew high praise from an NFL personnel executive, ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft

Jahan Dotson announced that his Penn State Football career is over, but NFL evaluators believe the wide receiver has a bright future at the next level.

“I saw him catch one of those smoke routes,” an NFC personnel executive tells FanSided, of Dotson. “And he made three guys miss, they couldn’t even touch him. He looked like Barry Sanders.”

What stopped the executive in his tracks, was that he wasn’t even studying or scouting Dotson when he flashed in the Nittany Lions‘ season opener.

“I watched a cornerback from Wisconsin, against Dotson,” the executive says. “He followed Jahan around the field and just couldn’t cover him. I was watching the corner, and I kept rewinding to watch Jahan.

“I was like ‘holy shit, he is quick as lightning. [Cornerback] is a good football player, but he had no chance against Dotson. It was almost embarrassing.”

That Badgers cornerback was Caesar Williams, who has his own NFL Draft aspirations.

Speed certainly became a hallmark of Dotson’s skill-set during his three seasons as a starter, after arriving in Happy Valley as a four-star recruit.

Dotson announced Monday that he will forego the Nittany Lions’ Outback Bowl clash with Arkansas, to turn his attention to the NFL Draft. As a senior his season, Dotson pulled down a career-high 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Against Wisconsin, in the game the Dotson caught the evaluator’s eye, the 5-foot-11 and 184-pound deep-threat caught five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.

“There was one play, where Dotson ran by him and it went from two yards to four yards, to six yards of separation, and I was like ‘holy shit,’ that kid can really run.'”

Dotson, thanks to his ability to be a dynamic playmaker in the vertical passing game, combined with his production and highlight-reel catches, has the potential to be the first receiver chosen in the 2022 NFL Draft next spring.

Whichever team chooses Dotson, might just have a plug-and-play starter on their hands. Especially given the immediate impacts first-round receivers have made across the NFL in recent seasons.

“You know who Jahan is at the next level,” the executive says. “He’s DeSean Jackson. He changes games. He has that speed.”

How Dotson’s game speed translates to how he tests during Penn State’s pro day and the NFL Combine could set his draft stock.

However, there could be some teams around the league, the executive suggests, that might shy away from Dotson because he lacks the prototypical size for the position.

“He’s small,” the executive points out. “The key thing is going to be how much value you put in that. So many offenses have packages for the small, speedy guys, but other offenses don’t. If you watch Rondale Moore, you can shut guys like him down, if you get your hands on those guys, it’s over. If the receiver makes you miss, see ya later, it’s over for you.”

If Dotson runs an impressive 40-yard dash and turns heads during pre-draft workouts, he might just do enough to solidify his status as a high first-round pick.

Likewise, teams might see Dotson’s speed as an asset for their offense to build around, especially in a league that is more and more slanted towards explosive offenses.

“If you run a six to 10-yard slant with a receiver like Dotson, that’s going to get you a first down every time and maybe a bigger play.”

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