CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Aaron Dobson became the latest Marshall football player to officially join the National Football League, as the New England Patriots announced Thursday that their second-round pick signed his contract.
Dobson was the final member of New England's 2013 draft class to sign with the team.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed Thursday, but according to ESPN.com, it will last four years under terms of the league's collective bargaining agreement. Dobson, a Dunbar native and South Charleston High graduate, was the 59th overall pick of the 2013 draft.
Dobson has the opportunity to contribute quickly to the Patriots' passing game. The depth chart on the team's official website has him already on the second team behind four-year veteran Donald Jones. At 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds, Dobson also gives the receiving corps a size boost. The only wideout on the roster taller is 10-year veteran Michael Jenkins.
New England's roster moves and other offseason issues also have left the depth chart wide open and the Patriots looking for someone to step up. Three of the Patriots' top five receivers from 2012 are no longer with the team - Wes Welker (now with Denver), Brandon Lloyd (released) and Danny Woodhead (now with San Diego).
Also, tight end Rob Gronkowski, who underwent recent back and arm surgeries, hopes to be back in action by the start of the season, and tight end Aaron Hernandez is embroiled in a homicide investigation where the victim was his friend (See page 3B).
Dobson finished his Marshall career tied with Brown for fourth on the Thundering Herd's career touchdown receptions list with 24. Twelve of those came during Dobson's junior season, including an acrobatic touchdown versus East Carolina considered one of the top plays of 2011.
As a senior, Dobson caught 57 passes for 679 yards and three scores. He was an all-Conference USA second-team selection and was named to the Senior Bowl.