With the 59th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the New England Patriots selected Marshall Thundering Herd wide receiver Aaron Dobson. Dobson is the No. 76-rated player in the draft rankings from SB Nation's Dan Kadar and the eighth-rated wide receiver.
Dobson has the size and speed combination that is ideal in NFL receivers. The 6'3, 210-pound Dobson was unable to participate in the 2013 NFL Combine drills due to a hamstring injury, but showed off very impressive speed at the Marshall Pro Day and was timed in the low 4.4-range in the 40. Couple that with great hands and he has the capability to be a top receiver.
The Patriots are making a switch at wide receiver as they move from Wes Welker to Danny Amendola, but adding the big-bodied receiver from Marshall gives Tom Brady a big target in the passing game. The ability to play outside and stretch the field is much-needed, and gives the Patriots another end-zone threat.
It will be extremely difficult to defend the Patriots in the red zone. Dobson will have time to develop and work in the offense. The possibility of the two elite tight ends and now Dobson will challenge a division relying on young defensive backs and can make an impact week in his rookie season.
In a scouting report on Gang Green Nation, the following were listed as positives for Smith:
Possesses good height and bulk to play the position, speed is not elite but it's definitely good, deceptive speed as he uses long strides to get down the field and stretch the defense vertically. Excellent hands, would rate them as elite. Has a background in basketball, so has good body control and leaping ability. Makes the difficult catches look easy and climbs the ladder to get the football. Tough competitor, churns out yards after the catch, works a lot over the middle and always secures the football despite the danger of taking a big hit.
Dobson caught four touchdown passes in his freshman season and continued to be a productive figure in the top-ranked Marshall passing game, including 12 touchdown receptions in his junior season. He finished his senior season with a career-high 57 receptions, but only found the end zone three times and missed a few games due to injury.
In statistics compiled by John Pollard of Stats.com, Dobson was credited with zero drops in the 92 times he was targeted in 2012. No player without a drop was targeted more often than Dobson.