Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman made it a point to visit the pro days of the top receivers in this year’s draft. One of those players was TCU’s Josh Doctson, whom the team also interviewed at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Doctson tweeted out that he will be visiting eight teams in four days and it is expected that one of those stops was in Minnesota, according to ESPN.
The TCU receiver seems to be one of the favorites of the Vikings so far this offseason, the most-picked player in the nearly 40 mock drafts assembled in the Scout.com Mock Draft Muncher, and having him in for their top-30 visit helps strengthen that thinking, especially since the team’s last two first-round picks, Anthony Barr and Trae Waynes, were both part of the top-30 visits prior to their selections.
Vikings’ needs: The Vikings made a huge stride as a team last year, going from having a losing record in 2014 to winning the NFC North and hosting a home playoff game in 2015. That improvement was not thanks to their passing attack, though, as they finished the regular season with the 31st-ranked passing attack - averaging just 183.0 yards per game.
They also cut Mike Wallace this offseason - he later signing with the Baltimore Ravens - to free up cap space. That leaves them in need of a No. 1 receiving option for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Doctson could be the player to fill that void.
Measurables: If you were to judge Doctson off his looks alone, he would not be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. He measures in at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, which is a little lighter than what teams are usually looking for. What makes him special is his athletic ability and what he is able to do out on the field.
He ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash - again, an average time - at the combine, but was among the top performers for the wide receivers in the vertical jump (41.0 inches), broad jump (131.0 inches), 20-yard short shuttle (4.08 seconds) and 60-yard shuttle (11.06 seconds). He also recorded 14 reps of the 225-pound bench press and a 6.84-second three-cone drill, which were both middle-of-the-pack scores for receivers.
Analysis: The most attractive thing about Doctson is his ability to go up and catch the ball at its highest point. He also has the ability to contort his body while he is in the air and bring in passes that are off target. Those two abilities led to him being able to bring in 25 touchdown receptions over his last two seasons at TCU and should make him a favorite of whatever quarterback he ends up playing with.
He had a very simplified route tree in college and for that reason some are worried about how quickly he will be able to master the more complex routes he will be asked to run in the NFL. He also looked lazy running his routes in college, according to analysts, as he would broadcast his breaks and often make them very rounded.
Still, he has shown the natural ability to create separation downfield with body positioning and slight hand movements, which is good. He has also shown that he can handle himself well when more physical corners try to force him to the sideline, but his ability to handle press coverage is still a concern, as he did not see it very much in college.
Draft analysts seem to perceive Doctson differently. Some people see him as a No. 1 receiver that will be able to do everything he needs to at the next level, but some see him more as a No. 2 receiver that needs to play along side someone else in order to maximize his potential.
His naysayers will always bring up his lack of top-end speed and the fact he needs to put on more muscle mass to play in the NFL and his supporters will always bring up his athletic ability and sure hands. Where he goes will greatly depend on how the teams drafting him view him, but if he is still on the board when the Vikings select at No. 23 overall it is clear he will be in the discussion of what they choose to do.