Dallas Cowboys

Will Mansfield Legacy’s Josh Doctson develop into the next Dez Bryant?

Former Mansfield Legacy and TCU standout Josh Doctson battled an Achilles injury as a rookie last season.
Former Mansfield Legacy and TCU standout Josh Doctson battled an Achilles injury as a rookie last season. AP

Dez Bryant is 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. He’s been one of the biggest scoring threats in the NFL in recent years, and he is one receiving touchdown away from becoming the Dallas Cowboys’ all-time leader.

Josh Doctson is 6-foot-2, 202 pounds. Like Bryant, he was a first-round selection for his projected play-making abilities. And he’s flashed those abilities early on in his career as he’s tied for the most receiving touchdowns (four) for the Washington Redskins so far this season.

Doctson, the Mansfield Legacy High School and TCU product, got off to a slow start in his professional career, battling an Achilles injury as a rookie last season. But he’s making strides in his sophomore season and Washington coach Jay Gruden has compared him to Bryant.

“He’s been great. Last year was kind of a throw-it-out year, he was injured,” Gruden said in a conference call with reporters Sunday. “He didn’t get a lot of practice time with (quarterback Kirk Cousins). Kirk’s learning really what he’s all about and the types of balls he can throw to him.

“That’s really, really important. When he looks covered, he’s really not covered.

“He’s very similar to Dez Bryant — he makes those tight throws with corners all over him. But he can use his size advantage, his leaping advantage, a lot of times. We’re just tipping the iceberg with Josh. Hopefully, there’ll be more balls to come for him.”

The Cowboys understand the red-zone threat Doctson can be. He scored one of his four touchdowns against them in the Week 8 match-up at Washington.

And, much like Bryant, Gruden said the numbers sometimes don’t tell the full story. Doctson only has 21 catches for 328 yards with four touchdowns.

In the Thanksgiving game against the New York Giants, for instance, Doctson finished with two catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. Left out of the box score, though, was a key pass interference penalty Doctson drew on a Redskins field goal drive to end the first half.

It ended up being a 37-yard penalty that put Washington into field-goal range.

“Those plays are huge parts of the game,” Gruden said. “It’s a team game and statistically it really doesn’t matter when it’s all said and done.”

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

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