March 13, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Aaron Dobson did what he couldn’t do last month. He was plenty satisfied with everything … well, almost everything.
To learn who Marshall’s senior wide receiver and top pro football prospect perhaps impressed the most at the Herd’s annual Pro Day, we’ll have to wait until the NFL Draft late next month.
Before about 30 tight-lipped scouts, personnel men and even seven wide receiver coaches from a total of 22 of the 32 NFL clubs, Dobson was the main attraction at Edwards Stadium on a frigid Wednesday.
It was a big day for Herd football as far as pro exposure goes.
A year ago, when birddogs were scoping out star defensive end Vinny Curry – he became the No. 59 overall pick (late second round) by Philadelphia – the NFL clubs at Pro Day totaled about a dozen.
Dobson was one of seven MU seniors who worked out at the session, orchestrated by Mark Gale, MU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations. Dobson was joined by fellow receivers Antavious Wilson and Andre Snipes-Booker, running back Martin Ward, safeties Okechukwu Okoroha and Dominick LeGrande and linebacker Devon Arrington.
The teams attending were Arizona, Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, New England, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego and San Francisco.
It was Dobson’s chance to show what he could do for the first time since the Senior Bowl in late January.
The 6-foot-3 Dunbar resident didn’t run at the NFL Combine late last month in Indianapolis due to a pulled right hamstring he suffered 10 days prior to the Combine during postseason workouts in preparation for the draft at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
He ran the 40 yards in 4.42 and 4.40 in two clockings on Pro Day. Last summer in official MU football testing, he did a 4.30.
“(The hamstring) is fine now; it felt good enough for me to come out here,” Dobson said after a sheen of snow melted from the turf and about a 75-minute workout ensued. “I feel like I ran pretty well today. Everything is good, despite the weather. It was darn cold, but I felt like I made a statement here.
“It was a good workout.”
Dobson finished his Marshall career with 165 receptions and 2,398 yards, ranking 11th and ninth all-time at MU in those categories. He’s tied for fourth in career touchdown receptions at 24 with Troy Brown, a New England Patriots’ Hall of Famer. He missed most of the final four games last season with a right knee sprain.
Dobson figures to be the 38th NFL Draft pick in Herd history. If he goes as high as Round 2 in the April 25-27 draft, he would be the eighth former Herd player selected that high, starting with Randy Moss in 1998.
Moss, Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich were first-rounders. Curry, Darius Watts, Paul Toviessi and Rogers Beckett were picked in Round 2.
“It’s just about waiting now, waiting and working out,” said Dobson, who wouldn’t disclose the teams that have been in contact with him or his agent. “There are about 10 or 11 teams that I’ve talked to, that are staying in touch.
“You just have to wait. We keep hearing the middle second round, some early second, some late second. I feel pretty confident about (a second-round selection).”
Dobson said he prospered “a lot” at the workouts in Florida, where a collegiate cross-section of 42 players prepared for the Combine and days just like the one Dobson and his former teammates went through Wednesday.
“Just the experience of being there, working with everyone from all of those schools, it all helped me,” he said. “You get to work with a whole lot of talent, and everyone has the same goals, the same dreams to be drafted, and you’re pushing one another, and the weather’s great. You can’t beat it.”
The climate change was Dobson’s only downer Wednesday.
“I don’t miss this cold at all,” he said, “but one thing, it’s good to be back in Huntington.”
The Herd players’ official timing on 2013 Pro Day, listed alphabetically (keys: Player ran two 40-yard dashes, times are in order; BP – bench press, number of times player lifted 225 pounds; VJ – vertical jump in inches); BP – broad jump (feet-inches); Pro agility – time in seconds running cones):
40 – 4.63, 4.68
BP – 16
VJ -- 34
BJ – 10-3½
Pro agility -- 4.23
40 – 4.42, 4.40
BP – 16
VJ -- 35
BJ – 10-1
Pro agility -- 4.29
40 – 4.53, 4.49
BP – 16
VJ -- 36½
BJ – 10-0
Pro agility -- 4.53
40 – 4.54, 4.60
BP – 25
VJ -- 32½ inches
BJ – 10-1
Pro agility -- 4.57
40 – 4.44, 4.35
BP – 6
VJ -- 34
BJ – 9-8½
Pro agility -- 4.24
40 – 4.95, 4.97
BP – 19
VJ -- 26
BJ – 8-10½
Pro agility -- 4.55
40 – 4.64, 4.66
BP – 12
VJ -- 34
BJ – 10-2
Pro agility -- 4.15