Dobson, Patriots a Second-Round Match in Herd Heaven|
April 26, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON - Apparently, there's something about Marshall wide receivers and the New England Patriots.
Aaron Dobson is going where fellow former Herd stars wideouts Troy Brown and Randy Moss have gone before, after New England made Dobson the 59th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft on Friday night.
Dobson didn't have to wait long for his second-round selection, celebrating with his family in Dunbar and viewing the NFL Draft telecast only two hours before his name was called.
"It's exciting, really exciting, and getting to share this night with my family is so special," Dobson said Friday night from his parents' home in Dunbar, where he said about 40 family members and friends had assembled. "The dream came true, and I'm so honored to be drafted by a great organization like New England.
"Marshall gave me an opportunity and now I have another opportunity. "We definitely knew the Patriots were very interested in me, but when the call came, it was just so special."
Dobson becomes the 38th selection from Marshall in NFL Draft history, and the 15th Herd player picked since 2000. Nine of those 15 have been selected in the first three rounds.
"The call came to me (informing him of his selection) about five minutes before it came on TV," Dobson said. "I was about ready to explode while I was waiting. It's definitely special being drafted and being picked where I was, and by a team with the great history New England has.
"Before it happens, you feel like you're living on the edge. It was a little bit better (Friday), because I had a good feeling about it, but I still worried about it a little. You can't help it."
Dobson's selection was in the same slot that his former Herd teammate, defensive end Vinny Curry, was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Dobson was the sixth wide receiver selected in this year's draft.
"I am honored to be chosen by New England," Dobson said in a statement from Allegiant Athletic Agency (a3), where the MU graduate is represented by agent Isaac Conner. "This is the dream that I have worked my entire life to achieve.
"New England is a great organization with incredible fans. I am so thankful for the opportunity they have given me. I can't wait to start my NFL career as a Patriot."
Dobson said he has talked to Patriots Coach Bill Belichick twice, including a short visit Friday night after the Patriots had made the pick.
After starring at South Charleston High School and helping the Black Eagles to a West Virginia Class AAA state title, Dobson had his only FBS offer from the Herd. He took it and played in 47 games.
His 165 career receptions rank 11th on the Marshall all-time list, and his 2,398 yards stand ninth.
"I think, No. 1, Aaron is a very, very talented guy," Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said of Dobson, whose 24 touchdown receptions are tied for fourth in Herd history with Brown, a Patriots' Hall of Famer. "He had a great career at Marshall and has a great future in the NFL, and the Patriots, they're going to be getting a guy who's a really big-play receiver. He can run, go up for the ball and he has good hands. He has all the skills in the world."
Dobson is the first Mountain State native to be picked in the draft in nine years. The last before the Herd star were Darrion Scott of Charleston (Ohio State) and Quincy Wilson (West Virginia) of Weir in 2004.
Conner said Friday night after Dobson's selection that he and the former Herd receiver "felt really good" about the player's chance to be picked by New England a night earlier.
"You can't get much happier than we are. New England was where we were hoping he'd be picked," Conner said. "After the Patriots traded (Thursday) to get a second pick in Round 2, we felt like Aaron would go right where he did."
The Pats dealt the 29th overall pick to Minnesota, which the Vikings used to draft Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. In exchange, New England got picks in the second, third, fourth and seventh rounds.
With the earlier second-round pick (No. 52 overall), the Patriots picked Southern Miss linebacker Jamie Collins. After that selection, Conner said he "felt sure" New England would go for Dobson.
The Herd star was the fifth Conference USA player selected in the 2013 draft, following first-rounder D.J. Hayden, a Houston cornerback, to Oakland at No. 12.
Second-rounders from C-USA picked prior to Dobson were Collins (No. 52), SMU Margus Hunt (No. 53) by Cincinnati and Rice tight end Vance McDonald (No. 55) by the 49ers.
Conner said Dobson would head to minicamp soon with the Patriots. Asked which teams had shown the most interest in his client, Conner named New England, Cleveland, Carolina and Seattle, with "Pittsburgh some, and Miami some."
Conner said that besides his impressive Pro Day performance in mid-March at Edwards Stadium, Dobson did private workouts at Marshall for the Patriots, Brown, Dolphins and Panthers.
Told Dobson's common draft slot with his former teammate Curry and asked about Dobson's potential salary slotting, Conner said that could be a point of origination in negotiations.
"We'll start by looking at what Vinny got at that slot last year, and then see what the person drafted ahead of Aaron (Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, with Denver) might get," Conner said. "Where negotiations go from there, we'll have to see."
Curry landed a four-year contract last year with the Eagles for $3,290,270, which included a signing bonus of $807,950. His base salaries are $390,000 (for 2012); $493,720; $697,440; and $751,160 - for an annual average of $822,568.
"Aaron certainly can catch the ball, but I think more so what teams like about him are his size, speed and athleticism," Conner said. "These days, big receivers are coveted items in the NFL ... The fact he runs a high 4.3 or low 4.4 is another plus for him ... 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 expects to go to Foxborough, Mass., by next weekend to "learn what's coming up" for him with the NFL club.
"It's all been crazy," he said, "but I'm thrilled. It's something I've been looking forward to for a long time."
Thundering Herd in the NFL Draft
Note: The first NFL Draft was held in 1936.