April 25, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Lions and Patriots and Panthers … oh, my!
Maybe throw in the Vikings, 49ers and Raiders, too … but the guesstimates are meaningless, really.
Remember how excited Marshall fans were with “The Catch” by Herd wide receiver Aaron Dobson against East Carolina in 2011 at Edwards Stadium?
That doesn’t measure what’s bubbling inside Dobson on the eve of his likely selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
“It’s crazy, a crazy feeling,” Dobson said earlier this week. “I’m nervous and you wonder which team, but in a way it doesn’t matter to me. I look at it as a blessing, a new start for me, and a chance to start a new life and career.
“When it happens, it’s going to be a dream come true.”
The 78th NFL Draft opens tonight at 8 p.m. in New York’s Radio City Music Hall with Round 1. The second and third rounds are scheduled Friday, starting at 6:30 p.m., with rounds 4-7 Saturday, starting at noon.
The expectation for Dobson – and his agent, Isaac Conner of Allegiant Athletic Agency (a3) of Knoxville, Tenn. – is a selection on Day 2.
More than a few prognosticators – including Mike Mayock of NFL Network and Todd McShay of ESPN -- have Dobson going to New England in the second round with the 59th overall pick. Others have mentioned Detroit early in Round 3 (No. 65) or San Francisco (Nos. 61 or 74).
At least six or seven clubs have been mentioned as possible Dobson destinations.
“I don’t know,” the 6-foot-3, 204-pound Dobson said. “I really don’t have a favorite NFL team. People in West Virginia always follow teams in neighboring states, but I’m open-minded. I’ll be thrilled to go to whoever picks me.”
Conner said Dobson is “ready and in good position” for the draft.
“He’s gone out and done everything teams have asked him to do,” Conner said. “I’d say we’re still looking at Day 2, the second and third rounds. Aaron and I are very confident in that, in what we’re hearing.
“A lot of teams like him. We’ve heard from a lot of teams. There were about 25 clubs there for his Pro Day (March 13 on campus). I’d say there are probably about five teams in there that have really stayed in touch and showed a lot of interest.”
Conner and Dobson won’t name teams, but reportedly Cleveland, Seattle, Pittsburgh and New England have shown significant interest.
The former Herd star said he does think “one of those few will really pick me … I don’t have a commitment from anyone (that if he’s available, that team would pick Dobson).”
Dobson graduated at MU in December – in 3½ years – and spent most of the winter working out with about 40 other draft prospects at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He missed the NFL Combine in February due to a pulled left hamstring, but bounced back and ran an official 4.42 in the 40 at Pro Day. One of his 40s was clocked at 4.37.
Since Pro Day, “I’ve been working out on my own and I’ve had a couple of private workouts with NFL teams,” he said. “It’s all gone well so far.”
Conner laughed about what seems to be a recently acquired nickname for Dobson – “Mitts” – obviously pointing a great degree to his one-handed, backhanded celebrated reception against ECU in 2011.
“Aaron certainly can catch the ball, but I think more so what teams like about him are his size, speed and athleticism. These days, big receivers are coveted items in the NFL, and in this draft he’s one of the bigger ones, especially for those early rounds.
“The fact he runs a high 4.3 or low 4.4 is another plus for him, and once he gets to the NFL they’ll work with him and that may get even better. You don’t have that combination of size and speed in many guys, the way he can go up for a ball.”
Dobson said he has worked hard on his “get-off” into his routes, and knows his time as a former basketball player at South Charleston High has boosted his athleticism. Marshall was his only FBS offer back in those days.
“I always could run and jump,” he said.
Dobson will be the 38th Marshall player selected in NFL Draft history, and 15th since the 2000 selection. The last one selected was former Dobson teammate Vinny Curry. The former Herd star defensive end was picked in the second round by Philadelphia a year ago.
“”I’ve talked to Vinny about waiting for the draft and being anxious and going crazy and he’s tried to calm me down,” Dobson said. “It’s great talking to him about that stuff because he just went through it.”
If Dobson is picked No. 59 overall by New England, he will be selected in exactly the same slot as Curry was taken last season. What did that mean when a contract was signed?
Curry has a four-year contract for $3,290,270, which included a signing bonus of $807,950. His base salaries are $390,000, $493,720, $697,440 and $751,160 – and annual average of $822,568.
“There’s nothing more Aaron can do except wait,” Conner said.
Dobson said he will watch the draft with “family and a few close friends” at his home in Dunbar.
“I don’t know what I’ll do when I’m picked, he said. “Whatever team it is, I’ll be excited. This is what I’ve worked for. Like I said, it’s a blessing.”