"He's going to have a role," Pederson said, doing his best to finesse the answer on Wednesday's conference call with Redskins media. "There's going to be an opportunity for him to be an impact on that team, and that's something where the staff will have plays specifically for him."
Pederson admitted that it's "tough" to prepare for a player such as Doctson, who has next to no NFL game tape after missing all but two contests last season because of a pair of Achilles' tendon injuries. In those two games, Doctson — the 22nd overall pick of the 2016 draft — logged a total of 31 plays and had two catches on six targets.
So when the Redskins host the Eagles on Sunday to open the season, Doctson very much will be a mystery man to Philadelphia's defensive coaches.
The Redskins are counting on Doctson to help fill the void created when 1,000-yard wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson departed via free agency. But in truth, the 6-foot-2, 206-pound Doctson remains rather mysterious to the Redskins as well.
Coaches and officials know his body of work from his days at Texas Christian, where he racked up a combined 143 catches for 2,344 yards and 25 touchdowns in his final two seasons. That production and his physical attributes caused the Redskins to view Doctson as the best receiver in the 2016 draft, and so they used their first-round pick on him despite needs on defense.
Teammates have seen flashes in practices. Doctson looked like the most complete wide receiver on the team during the spring sessions and preseason. Jamison Crowder is an excellent route runner, but he is limited by his 5-9 frame. Terrelle Pryor has fantastic athleticism to go with a 6-4, 228-pound frame. But coaches describe him as a developing receiver, going into just his second year at the position after playing quarterback most of his career.
Redskins defensive backs say Doctson has displayed a blend of athleticism, polish and savvy that lead them to believe he can be special.
"He can do stuff other guys can't do," safety DeAngelo Hall said one day after a training camp practice in which Doctson seemed to win a series of one-on-one matchups effortlessly.
But no one really knows how Doctson's game will translate from college to the NFL or from practice speed to game speed. Plenty of wide receivers thrived in college but couldn't hack it in the league. And plenty shine in practice but disappear when it comes to games.
Coach Jay Gruden and his staff don't believe Doctson will fall under either category.
"He's a very natural route runner. Very friendly quarterback target," Gruden said. "He gets in and out breaks smooth, he gets his head around, gets the right depths, understands the route tree very well. He knows how to run everything. There's not a route that he can't run. We'll see how it goes, but I feel very good about where he is mentally and his approach to running routes as a receiver."
The inclusion of Doctson's mental state was not by accident. Last year, the young receiver admittedly struggled with discouragement over his Achilles' injuries, which doctors could never find a cause for because tests never revealed any structural damage.
Doctson earlier this offseason discussed the process of regaining trust in his body and rebuilding his confidence. That reconstruction took place during the spring and training camp. Doctson appeared poised to make a push for a starting position but then strained a hamstring leading up to the preseason opener. He made a cameo in the second preseason game — making one catch for 12 yards — but then missed the third with more hamstring soreness and tightness in his groin. Coaches then made the decision to hold Doctson out of the fourth preseason game as a precaution. Gruden insists he sees a very confident player in Doctson.
The receiver will enter Sunday's game with less than ideal prep time. But he's not alone. Crowder and tight end Jordan Reed also have missed chunks of game and practice time. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has struggled without them regularly on the field.
During three preseason appearances, Cousins completed just 56.8 percent of his passes and had only one touchdown to go with an interception. The quarterback has talked about embracing the challenge of proving he can run an efficient offense regardless of the cast of receivers.
But despite the limited reps with Cousins, Gruden believes Doctson's style and experience will lead to more rapid progress.
"They're still in the process, but I think they're in good shape," he said. "Josh is such a smooth route runner and natural wide receiver that he makes it easy for quarterbacks. So not a concern there."
Cousins echoed his coach, "I feel pretty good because Josh is a natural receiver and has done it a long time. He was able to watch last year and sit in on meetings and learn the offense. He knows what it's supposed to look like. He watched some really good, veteran players last year, so it doesn't take a lot of time to get him doing. We just need him out there to show what he can do. He'll really make a difference for our offense. I'm excited just as the fan base is to see what he has in the tank. We've had a good week of practice here and we've just got to continue to give him opportunities."
Garcon and Jackson's departures translate into a loss of 2,046 yards, seven touchdowns and 87 first downs on 137 receptions. No one has made bold predictions that Doctson will post a 1,000-yard season. But they do see him as a fixture in this offense as long as he's healthy.
Don't look to Doctson for any bold predictions of greatness, however.
He has tried to temper expectations, declining many interview requests as of late, hoping to let his play do the talking instead.
This week, he relented and fielded a handful of questions before leaving Redskins Park for the day. But he went into Marshawn Lynch mode and in a low voice answered nearly every question with, "Yeah, I'm excited to play football and the Eagles this weekend. It's going to be fun."