Aaron Dobson Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Marshall WR
Second Round: 59th Pick
Teams are always willing to gamble on prospects with the highest upside, but sometimes the best route to take is to find the ones with the highest floor.
Aaron Dobson isn't the flashiest receiver, but with his reliable hands and route-running skills, he's ready to make an immediate impact in the NFL.
Dobson is a prototypical possession receiver. He knows how to get open, work the sideline and, most importantly, comes down with everything thrown his direction.
In terms of ball skills, Dobson may be the most polished receiver in this year's draft class.
While Dobson is extremely reliable, he does lack upside due to some physical limitations. His lack of breakaway speed will hinder his ability to get open over the top, and some of the elite, more physical cornerbacks in the league should have little trouble shutting him down.
For these reasons, he won't be a No. 1 receiver, but he could develop into a quality second option down the road.
Dobson was clocked at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, but he doesn't play at nearly that speed during games.
However, Dobson has the size to be a quality possession receiver. At 6'3", 210 pounds, Dobson should have little trouble using his body to his advantage when battling for contested balls.
Dobson is regarded as a well-respected teammate and was selected as a team captain during his senior year.
He was slowed by an undisclosed injury during his senior year, which caused him to miss some time. Dobson was also held out of combine workouts due to a hamstring injury but completed a full workout at his pro day on March 13.
Dobson is an outside receiver who can play in any scheme. Due to his modest speed, he will be most effective on short and intermediate routes.
He could line up in the slot on occasion, but his lack of explosiveness off the snap may limit his effectiveness.
It typically takes Dobson a few steps to build up speed, which is why he's better suited to play on the outside. The quick slants and hitches that slot receivers run require more explosion off the snap.
He has no issue beating press coverage. He's stronger than most defensive backs, and he is consistently able to fight through the press and often gain a step over the top in the process.
Dobson ranks among the top receivers in this year's class in terms of his ability to come down with the football.
According to John Pollard of STATS, Dobson was targeted 92 times in 2012, caught 57 passes and didn't drop a single ball.
Dobson also does a nice job tracking the ball in the air and adjusts to the poorly thrown balls. He's the type of receiver who can help bail out a quarterback who is struggling with accuracy.
Given his size and quick reaction skills when adjusting to the ball, Dobson has a wide catch radius, making it easy on the quarterback.
While Dobson doesn't often get free over the top, he does show just enough speed that the defense must respect his ability to go deep.
Dobson runs very crisp routes, and while he doesn't explode out of his breaks, he does sell his fakes very well and will force defensive backs into false steps. When the defensive back slips up and gives him an extra step, Dobson knows how to take advantage.
He also works the sideline like a pro and knows how to position himself between the sideline and the defender, giving the quarterback a clear window where only Dobson can get to the football.
After the Catch
Dobson isn't the type of receiver who will pick up chunks of yardage after the catch, but he is an efficient runner with the ball. He won't shy away from contact and will break a few tackles from lazy defensive backs who don't wrap him up.
Like many receivers, Dobson's effort as a blocker can be hit or miss. But when he wants to, he can dominate a defensive back.
He's tough, physical and never backs down from a fight at the line of scrimmage. His initial punch is sometimes all it takes to force a smaller cornerback to back down from a fight if he's the type that shies away from physical battles.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
With Dobson, what you see is what you get. His upside may be somewhat limited, but he is capable of contributing immediately and for years to come.
He doesn't fit the mold of a traditional No. 1 receiver, but he could be a poor man's Anquan Boldin if he continues to develop his route-running skills.
Every team can use a possession receiver with reliable hands, which makes Dobson a nice fit for any scheme.
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