Josh Doctson during a preseason game against the Packers. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Former Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan, who is nearing his goal of appearing on every football podcast in the discovered universe, continues to follow his ex-team through this first preseason after his unexpected departure. And the ex-GM continues to believe in his former draft picks, as evidenced by his recent comments on CSN’s “Redskins Talk” podcast.

Asked by host JP Finlay to predict Washington’s leading receiver this season, McCloughan named a guy who would finish no better than third in the predictions of most fans: oft-injured second-year man Josh Doctson.

“I’m saying if Doctson’s healthy, it’s going to be him,” McCloughan said. “[Jamison] Crowder’s going to have his multiple catch games; he’s not a burner, though. He’s going to catch it, he’s going to make his plays. But that’s the thing about it: All three of them, four of them, five of them with the two tight ends, they’re going to make plays. [Terrelle] Pryor [Sr.]’s sneaky because he can run; he’s just a long legged guy and it takes him a little time to get up to speed, but he can run once he gets going. And so can Doctson, but they’re not like Crowder where they’re quick twitch, top speed right away.”

“But it’s a good group, I’m telling you,” McCloughan went on. “And with Kirk [Cousins] getting the ball out quick and them being comfortable in the offense, they have a chance to put up big time numbers. Now does that mean wins? The defense’s got to do what they’ve got to do, [special] teams got to do what they’ve got to do. But I know if you’re a defensive coordinator right now, and all 11 starters are healthy on offense, you’re losing sleep at night.”

McCloughan has repeated in recent days that Doctson — his final first-round pick in Washington — was the highest-rated player on the Redskins board when they drafted him. He told Finlay that the second-year receiver “can make phenomenal catches,” has “very good body control in the air,” possesses a big body and good athleticism, and that “if he’s healthy, he’s gonna be a really good football player.” 

Those comments, of course, were made before Sunday’s preseason game, which Doctson missed because of injury. Asked whether this year’s group of receivers could be as productive as the highflying unit from a year before, McCloughan offered a noteworthy thought.

“The one guy, if I was still there, I would never let go would be Pierre [Garcon], because of what he brought,” McCloughan said. “Not just from a toughness standpoint and production standpoint, but the leadership he brought — not just on the field but during the offseason, in the weight room, in meeting rooms. He was highly, highly respected. And of course [DeSean Jackson] was very unique because he could just fly.

“But this group, it’s going to be interesting, because I don’t know Pryor that well as a person. I know Doctson very well and of course I know Crowder very well, I know Jordan [Reed] very well, I know Vernon [Davis] very well. But it depends on Pryor — if he’s not getting fed the ball, if it’s going to bother him — because I know he’s on a one-year deal. Will that be a disruption to the team? Because it’s all about the team.

“Crowder’s not going to be a disruption,” McCloughan said. “Doctson’s never going to be a disruption, Jordan’s never going to be one, Vernon’s never going to be one. The backs aren’t going to be one. So it just depends [on] the guy you bring in from the outside and you expect a lot of out of him. The athleticism and the ability to play football is there, but it’s also the other package. What kind of person is he? What’s going to happen when you lose two in a row? Is he going to start pointing fingers and talking about the quarterback and that kind of stuff, which those other guys won’t? And that’s when you start building something strong, when they won’t, because they understand okay we lost, it’s not one guy’s fault, it’s everybody’s fault, we’ve got to find a way to get better.

“So that’s unique because with Pierre, he was never a problem. He’s just a stud. He was all business. I loved it. I loved it.”

McCloughan also said he wouldn’t panic about the first-team offense even with its preseason struggles.

“There’s always reason to worry, because you want to see success, you want to see production, you want to see guys come together,” he said. “But also understand both sides of the ball, even special teams, you’re not showing your hand. You’re just being vanilla and basic. But the thing that has kind of surprised me is the way the O-line’s been playing. Because that’s just man-to-man. I understand the quarterback and the receivers — different receivers coming in and tight ends coming in and the timing and all that — but the one thing that’s kind of surprised me is just the offensive line so far.

“But [offensive line coach Bill] Callahan will get it going, I promise you, and they have talent. They have some talent up front. … With that quarterback and that coaching staff, they have players, now. It’s a tough division, I understand, but they have players. If they stay healthy, they’re gonna compete now, I promise you.”

Listen to the full episode here.

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