Marshall football: Herd wide receiver is hoping to create own legacy in NFL
MOBILE, Ala. -- He's not quite as tall as the legendary Marshall wide receiver he grew up idolizing, Randy Moss, but Aaron Dobson is intent on emulating the success Moss has had in the National Football League.
Dobson has been performing at a high level during this week's Senior Bowl practices as a member of the North Team and is looking to benefit from a process that Moss was not exposed to entering the 1998 NFL Draft.
A DuPont High graduate, Moss declared himself eligible after his redshirt sophomore season and wound being chosen 21st overall by the Minnesota Vikings.
"Being from the same area as him, I definitely watched Randy Moss and he has crazy athletic ability," said Dobson, who weighed in at 203 pounds and measured 6-foot-21/2. "He's a great receiver and I've been compared to him a couple times so that's exciting, but me going into the league, I'm just trying to make my own name and just start my own legacy being from Dunbar. I want to let people know that you can make it from there."
Saturday's game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium will be Dobson's best chance to separate himself from a talented crop of receivers on the North that includes Markus Wheaton of Oregon State and Chris Harper out of Kansas State. Those two came into this week with loudest buzz, but the precision with which Dobson has been running his routes and some of the catches he has made definitely has left an impression.
The 2011 season was Dobson's most productive from a scoring standpoint, as he caught 12 touchdown passes. The South Charleston High graduate finished his career with 24 touchdown receptions and caught 165 passes for 2,398 yards. So even though his trips into the end zone dramatically declined his senior year, Dobson already was on the radar of many scouts and draft analysts.
"He's a kid that could be a lot like Brian Quick was last year from Appalachian State," ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. said. "Dobson is going to have a big Senior Bowl. He has size and didn't have a quarterback that could get him the ball on a consistent basis. He's very athletic. When he's had the opportunity to go up and make a play he's made it. He could be in the late-first-round discussion or certainly in the early to mid-second round discussion as a guy that nobody is talking about that could emerge."
Dobson noticed an immediate difference in the tempo of an NFL practice compared to what he was used to at Marshall. He is being coached by the Oakland Raiders staff and had to transition to multiple drills without much of a break except for water.
Offensive schemes also are different in the NFL compared to what he excelled in at the college level, but Dobson remains confident that when all of the evaluations are completed and he answers all of the questions from individual teams during formal interviews, he will have positioned himself well for April's draft.
"I'm just trying to show everybody that I'm a complete receiver and I can do it all," Dobson said. "I can block, go deep, over the middle and run intermediate routes. So I'm just trying to show everybody that I'm a complete receiver. I can improve on getting separation at the top of my routes and I plan to work on that and improve some more."