The New England Patriots selected Marshall Thundering Herd star wide receiver Aaron Dobson with their second second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and Dobson figures to snatch the starting “X” receiver job right off the bat. Dobson has great speed, size, reliable hands, solid route-running, and the thing that stands out the most is his ball skills. At Marshall, Dobson regularly made circus-type catches, so Dobson won’t make us miss the crazy grabs Brandon Lloyd is also known for.
Part of the reason why Aaron Dobson’s ball skills are so good is because, well, he was a basketball star in high school. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was full of praise for both Dobson and basketball players in general, and he gave great insight on how basketball skills can translate to football skills (especially at the wide receiver position).
He said, via the Providence Journal, “I would say that, just based on my experience as a coach through the years, that basketball players, most have good hands. They have to handle the ball a lot. The ball is on them quick, tight passes and handling the ball in traffic and that kind of thing. Usually, when you get a good basketball player, those guys usually have pretty good ball skills in terms of handling the ball: strong hands in being able to keep it and quick hands, being able to snatch it and handle it cleanly and, hopefully, without losing it.”
When asked about Dobson, Belichick basically said what I described in the first paragraph. Belichick praised Dobson’s intelligence, his speed, his size, his hands, and his strength. Belichick was actually most effusive in his praise for Dobson’s intelligence, and he also added that Dobson has good versatility. I have a feeling the Pats also believe that Dobson could play in the slot, but I think Dobson is going to be an outside receiver full-time. But if they do think Dobson can play in the slot, then they will mix him in the slot.
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