When the New England Patriots selected Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson with a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the general feeling was that Dobson would be one of the future. He was extremely raw and something of a project player, but he also had all the tools to be a legitimate “X” receiver in the Patriots offense. Despite a rough offseason with plenty of drops and some poorly run routes, Dobson also showed plenty of flashes of his upside. He’s fast, he’s big, he makes catches in traffic, he makes highlight reel catches, and he has a huge catch radius. All of those traits scream “upside”, but the rawness was evident. Dobson has been dropping passes at a blistering rate, and there have been games where he has been largely anonymous.
However, Dobson has also had games where he’s been a key to the offense, and he’s really come on strong. It looked like more polished UDFA rookie Kenbrell Thompkins would have a bigger impact as a rookie than Dobson, but the roles have been reversed since Thompkins’s huge training camp. Dobson has improved his play significantly over the past few weeks, and he’s the Patriots “X” receiver now. Thompkins, on the other hand, has taken a free-fall down Tom Brady’s pass-catching totem pole, and hopefully “KT” is able to find his way back up.
But Dobson has been a pleasant surprise these past three weeks with 13 receptions for 157 yards and a TD, and he has become a key receiver for the team now. His size makes him a nice red zone target, and he can make things happen downfield. Dobson is already starting to make good on his upside, which is definitely encouraging for the Patriots.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, Aaron Dobson says he’s more comfortable with the offense, “Definitely, just getting work at it and just practicing. Me and Tom are getting on the same page, and I feel like all of that is helping to transition to the field on Sunday.”
Opposing defenses definitely have to watch out if Dobson has truly gotten things down, because he has all the athletic tools to be a difference-maker at wide receiver. After he was selected by the Patriots in the draft, there was plenty of optimism regarding his future, and that optimism certainly hasn’t waned.
Here’s an interesting quote found in that Herald piece from starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, “When he first came in. we were going at it (in practice), and he made a one-hand catch on me. I was like, ‘This guy, he’s for real.’ I knew then he would be a special person for this team.”