Quarterback is as mentally challenging as any position in sports, but it’s a piece of cake compared to what Joshua Dobbs studied during his time at Tennessee.
On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Dobbs in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
Dobbs, 22, is a month away from graduating with an aerospace engineering degree and a minor in business. By the end of May, Dobbs will be an actual rocket scientist and plans to use his degree to design and build airplanes after his football career is over.
“When I went to college, I wanted to major in something that I had a passion for,” Dobbs said at the Senior Bowl in January. “Growing up, I was always fascinated with aviation and I always succeeded in math and sciences, so aerospace engineering was right up my alley.”
For many players with NFL aspirations, figuring out what to do professionally after football is a question that gets answered when the end of their career is on the horizon.
Dobbs is one of the few with big plans already in place for his time after football. But that raises the question of why he even attempted to play in the NFL in the first place.
He spent each of the last two offseasons doing internships with Pratt & Whitney — a leading aerospace manufacturer. With a comfortable career ahead of him, why go through the rigors of football and the dangers that come with it?
“When I step on the field, put on my helmet, strap on my shoulder pads, each and every time I walk on the field, I understand the risks that come with playing football,” Dobbs said. “It’s a game I’ve been playing since I was 5 and I wouldn’t really know what it’s like not to play the game.
“So I understand all the risks that come with playing the game and I think everyone who puts on the helmet does too as well, but I love the game, I have a great passion for the game. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed not to have any concussions and hopefully that continues moving forward. So I’ve just got to be smart and take care of my body while I’m on the field.”
Dobbs was the the ninth-rated player at the position by SB Nation’s Dan Kadar, and there were some who believed there was some sleeper value in the quarterback.
“I would love to get my hands on him. He, to me, is a great sleeper in this draft,’’ ESPN’s Jon Gruden said on a conference call Wednesday. “This guy has the heart of a champion. I really like Dobbs a lot, and hopefully somebody with a real creative mind gets him.”
But if Dobbs’ NFL career fizzles, he has quite the fallback plan.