NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
With their second overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, number fifty-nine overall, the New England Patriots selected wide receiver Aaron Dobson, Marshall.
This is what we said in our scouting report on Dobson:
Aaron Dobson has quietly had a great career at Marshall, despite not having an NFL-quality arm throwing to him. With an arm that can deliver the ball down the field on a consistent basis, Dobson’s production would have been greatly improved.
He has improved every year in college and I expect his best football to be played in the NFL. If he is able to refine his technique a bit, he will quickly become a fixture on highlight shows.
A tall receiver that can get over the top of cornerbacks is never over-looked on draft day. In conversations with Dobson, he seems ready to contribute at the “X” receiver position as a rookie, and is willing to work on his craft to get there.
Dobson certainly has the type of big, muscular build the Patriots have lacked at the wide receiver position; he will be expected to line up as the split end. If he can beat press coverage with some consistency and offer New England a deep threat on the outside, the pick will be worth it.
However, there will be a fairly steep learning curve for Dobson; how well he adjusts to New England’s complicated offense will dictate his success at the pro level. Bill Belichick stated, however, that Dobson was “in the upper level” of football smarts with regards to wide receivers drafted by New England.
Here is an interview that we did Dobson earlier this year. One highlight:
Like Fitzgerald, Dobson wants to be an “X” receiver in the NFL, playing on the line. He’ll have to be adept at getting off the press, which he has shown he can do at the college level. The NFL could be a different story.
“I like to mix it up. They’ll watch tape of you in the league so you can’t just do one thing.” Dobson can use his 6’3″ / 200+ pound frame to get physical with corners or use his lateral explosiveness to get around them.
Getting off the press is exactly what the Patriots need with AFC East teams loading up on pass rushers.
Dobson totaled 679 yards on 57 catches in 2012 – recording three touchdowns. Dobson scored 12 touchdowns on 48 catches for 668 yards in 2011.
The Patriots are next on the clock at pick 83.