Jahan Dotson is one of the best receivers in the nation. Yet, he does not receive the media attention of his receiving counterparts. Dotson has been a bright star for the Penn State offense. Statistically, he continues to climb in the school’s record books as a receiver and punt returner. He ranks third all-time in career receiving touchdowns, fourth in receiving yards, and fourth in receptions. To add, he has 10 career 100-yard receiving games, tied for second all-time at Penn State, and ranks sixth all-time at Penn State with a 14.6 punt return average.
Heading into NFL draft season, draft reports and profiles will be processed and published here at TDN. One of the more difficult tasks is prospect comparisons. Comparisons are more than height, weight, and speed. Matching traits and movement skills is ideal. For Dotson, who is a mirrored comparison? How about the 2019 third-round selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Diontae Johnson?
Dotson and Johnson share similar measurements. Dotson stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs 184 pounds. Johnson stands at 5-foot-10.5 and weighs 183 pounds. Aside from the physical similarities, their games resemble each other also. Both receivers are agile, explosive, and crafty route-runners. With their slender frames, neither of these polished wideouts are relegated to the slot role. Johnson and Dotson are more than talented enough to play on the perimeter. Both players mirror their routes well—each route looks the same as the previous. Their explosive abilities allow them to threaten defensive backs vertically, opening shorter opportunities working back to the quarterback.
Johnson moves around for the Steelers’ offense, playing the X, Y, and Z positions. He is their best receiver and most reliable winner in one-on-one situations.
Like Johnson, Dotson does similar things for the Nittany Lions offense. Both receivers have innate stop/start abilities to detach from tight man coverage. Dotson offers more vertical and explosive play potential with his 4x100 meter speed. Their oily hips and understanding of leverages make them difficult to contain for four quarters.
Their similarities extend to their special teams ability as returners. Their ability to generate big plays in multiple ways along with their other similarities is like looking in a mirror.
One of the few ways they differ, though, is that Johnson struggled with concentration drops in college and early in his NFL career. Dotson has soft and reliable hands to pair with his great ball skills. He extends the target window for his quarterback and acts as a security blanket in tough situations.
I was higher on Johnson than most coming into the 2019 draft and those sentiments are shared for Dotson this year. Dotson’s overall game translates well to the NFL. Offenses value spacing more than in previous generations. Similar to Johnson, Dotson’s agility, long speed, and versatility can impact an offense from day one. Johnson and Dotson are as close as it comes to a mirror comparison.