CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When former Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson paid a visit to the New England Patriots before the 2013 NFL Draft, he ran into two-time league MVP quarterback Tom Brady. The two only had time for a little small talk, but Dobson still was excited to meet him.
They'll have plenty of time to sit down and talk now.
The Patriots took Dobson, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound South Charleston High graduate, in Friday's second round with the 59th overall pick. This is the third straight year a Marshall player has been taken in the NFL Draft and the first year since 2004 that a Kanawha County native was selected. The Minnesota Vikings picked former Capital High and Ohio State standout Darrion Scott in the third round that year.
Scouts Inc. actually nailed this pick in its mock draft, predicting the Patriots would grab Dobson with the 59th pick. But Dobson didn't consider it a certainty.
"I definitely knew they had some interest in me, but I didn't know they definitely were going to choose me with that selection," Dobson said. "But just how it all fell out, I'm just excited to start. I'm excited to be a Patriot and excited they picked me. I'm just ready to get to work."
And he's more than ready to work with Brady, who has done pretty well with former Marshall wideouts in the past. He's thrown to Troy Brown, who is tied with Dobson for fourth on the Thundering Herd's career touchdown receptions list with 24. He's also thrown to Randy Moss, who broke the NFL single-season touchdown receptions record by catching 24 with the Pats in 2007.
Now it's Dobson's turn.
"It's sunk in a little bit," he said. "It's just exciting to know that I have a chance to catch passes from one of the greats, the best quarterback in the league right now. It's amazing, because I've been watching him for so long. To be on the same team is just a blessing, for real."
While ESPN and the NFL Network promised not to spoil the surprise of each pick, Dobson's friend and Marshall teammate Andre Snipes-Booker kind of tipped his hand when, on Friday night, he tweeted, "Ahhhhhhhh lets gooooo!!!!" Dobson's selection came minutes after, and Snipes-Booker admitted Saturday that he tweeted that exclamation as Dobson's phone was ringing.
The Patriots could use a receiver with Dobson's size and athleticism. The two-deep on the team's website has no wideout taller than 6 feet. And it's not just Dobson's ability to make the spectacular catch - evident in his one-handed, backhanded touchdown catch against East Carolina that became a YouTube hit in 2011. Scouts were enamored in his ability at Marshall's frigid pro day to make catches in adverse conditions, something that will be commonplace in Massachusetts.
Dobson's measurements weren't the only thing that Patriots Coach Bill Belichick liked about Dobson. He respected the receiver's mind, too.