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Jahan Dotson

Aiyuk trade would likely derail Dotson's comeback hopes

There’s still a chance Brandon Aiyuk will be traded. Not likely, but possible. He said on a podcast that he expects he’ll be playing with the 49ers, and that if a deal occurs, it most likely will be to the Steelers or Commanders.

Such a deal, of course, would cause significant shuffling on draft boards. If Aiyuk is out of San Francisco, probably Jauan Jennings but maybe Ricky Pearsall would be starting. And Aiyuk would probably become the leading pass catcher for either Pittsburgh or Washington. But both teams have good receivers in place (George Pickens, Terry McLaurin).

In the unlikely event Aiyuk lands in Washington, it will change expectations for Jahan Dotson. As things stand, I like Dotson as a later-round receiver who could take a nice step forward. Should Aiyuk land there, Dotson would look more likely to be the 3rd-best receiver on his own team.

Dotson wasn’t effective last year, but I don’t think it was entirely his fault. Washington switched offenses, and it seemed like Eric Bieniemy settled on McLaurin and Curtis Samuel as his two main pass catchers, with Dotson relegated into a lesser role. His lack of production, I believe, was tied more to his usage than anything else.

Consider: There were three games where Samuel was hurt, elevating Dotson into more of a starter-type role. He caught 15 passes for 200 yards in those three games, with a touchdown in each of them. Dotson caught only 34 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown in his other 14 games, with Samuel penciled into his usual spot.

If we go back to his rookie season, Dotson looked just fine – a first-round pick who came as advertised. He caught 7 passes for 99 yards and 3 TDs in his first two games. He missed a third of that season with a hamstring injury, but he came back late in the year to catch 15 passes for 235 yards and 3 TDs in a three-game stretch.

Dotson is a smaller receiver, but he’s fast, and with after-the-catch elusiveness. And he’s shown he can play. I remember in 2022 wondering if he were going to be better than McLaurin.

Washington has Jayden Daniels at quarterback now, and he did a good job connecting with his two receivers at LSU. I will be very interested to see what Daniels looks like in the preseason.

Aiyuk situation needs to be watched, of course. But I am open to the possibility of maybe selecting Dotson to be one of the depth receivers on my team. Looks like a guy who could develop into a starter-caliber option at least at times.

In the chart below, I’ve put in bold the games where Dotson has put up over 15 points (using PPR scoring).

20221Jac.W 28-223-40-218.0
20222at Det.L 27-364-59-115.9
20223Phil.L 8-242-10-03.0
20224at Dall.L 10-253-43-113.3
20225Ten.L 17-21hamstring--
20226at Chi.W 12-7hamstring--
20227G.B.W 23-21hamstring--
20228at Ind.W 17-16hamstring--
20229Min.L 17-20hamstring--
202210at Phil.W 32-211-14-02.4
202211at Hou.W 23-101-13-02.6
202212Atl.W 19-130-0-0.0
202213at NYGT 20-205-54-116.4
202215NYGL 12-204-105-120.5
202216at S.F.L 20-376-76-119.6
202217Cle.L 10-243-37-06.7
202218Dall.W 26-63-72-010.2
20231Ari.W 20-165-40-09.0
20232at Den.W 35-333-22-05.2
20233Buff.L 3-372-21-04.1
20234at Phil.L 31-344-27-112.7
20235Chi.L 20-403-30-06.0
20236at Atl.W 24-160-0-0.0
20237at NYGL 7-145-43-09.3
20238Phil.L 31-388-108-124.8
20239at N.E.W 20-174-69-116.9
202310at Sea.L 26-290-0-0.0
202311NYGL 19-313-23-111.3
202312at Dall.L 10-455-52-010.2
202313Mia.L 15-452-23-04.3
202315at LARL 20-281-12-02.2
202316at NYJL 28-302-31-05.1
202317S.F.L 10-270-0-0.0
202318Dall.L 10-382-17-03.7

—Ian Allan

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