It’s not unusual for a Patriots’ selection to illicit a collective “who?” from casual observers, and the same was likely true when they called Aaron Dobson’s name in the second round. Overshadowed by other, bigger names in a deep crop of wide receivers, Dobson is in fact a classic Bill Belichick selection: a team captain with a boatload of intangibles who played—and excelled—just a shade off the beaten path at Marshall.
Nothing in Marshall’s four-year stat line stands out, aside from a dozen touchdowns as a junior, but his standout performance at the Senior Bowl indicated he could hang with the big boys. He has NFL size, good body control and great hands and ball skills, so he can compete for every catch. While Dobson has laid down some impressive 40 times he doesn’t have explosive speed; it takes him a while to build up to top speed so while he can threaten the secondary down the field he’s not a typical “take the top off a defense” burner.
Aside from the level of competition, the common knocks on Dobson from scouts are a lack of consistency and a tendency to play smaller than his 6-3, 210-pound frame suggests. Roy Williams was frequently mentioned as a comparison, as were Muhsin Muhammed and Sidney Rice. While the former was a bust—especially based on where he was picked—the latter two seem more appropriate for this situation: unheralded receivers with the potential to develop into a quality NFL target. Again, that’s a common theme for Belichick draft picks, and there will certainly be an opportunity in New England for Dobson to follow that path.