KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Josh Dobbs’ NFL draft stock continued to soar on Wednesday when ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. suggested the outgoing Tennessee quarterback could be selected as high as the second round.
Some scoffed when former Cleveland Browns scout and current Vols director of player personnel Bob Welton said Dobbs’ individual pro day workout at Tennessee was the best he had ever seen.
On Tuesday, renowned NFL talent evaluator Gil Brandt took note of Dobbs’ impressive ability to write his own workout script, and now Kiper is weighing in.
“If you feel like a better supporting cast would have helped him maybe play a little bit better at Tennessee,” Kiper Jr. said on an ESPN conference call, “then you could think about Josh Dobbs in the second or third round.”
The Vols’ supporting cast left plenty to be desired on the offensive line, where UT had to start seven different combinations on account of injuries.
The attrition was so bad that Dobbs was, in fact, one of only three offensive players to start every game — receiver Josh Malone and lineman Brett Kendrick were the others.
NFL analytics also measured how much Dobbs could have benefitted if there weren’t so many dropped passes, and showed him to be among the best QBs in the nation under pressure.
Dobbs still managed to lead the SEC quarterbacks in passing efficiency and touchdowns, pacing a school-record offense that produced more touchdowns and points than any before it in Tennessee history.
Still, critics persisted, as Dobbs was overlooked for first-team All-SEC honors in favor of freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts — some failing to take into account the players’ supporting casts.
A Senior Bowl invitation gave Dobbs a chance to change any perception he was strictly a spread quarterback, as he quickly impressed NFL scouts in Mobile by grasping the Pro Style offensive concepts and showing he could operate under center.
“You think about the Senior Bowl week, how it helped him, you’ve got (team) interviews, and obviously that helped him, he’s incredibly intelligent, great character, class quarterback off the field leadership, respect,” Kiper said, “ All of that and everything he has from an intangibles standpoint.
“Physically, he has the physical traits you want, as well.”
Dobbs proved as much at the NFL combine, out-performing Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson in the running and jumping events in Indianapolis.
“Yeah, I think when you go back and look at Tennessee … are some of the throws, or some of the things that go on the quarterback’s fault or the receiver’s fault,” Kiper Jr. said, “and that’s the argument you make in some cases with Dobbs and Tennessee.”
Kiper projects four quarterbacks to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft — North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Watson, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer — and Pitt’s Nathan Peterman to go in the second round.
“Dobbs may end up being the sixth quarterback taken,” Kiper said, “and if he is, with four in the first round and Peterman in the second, you could see Dobbs in the late second, early third round.”
Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs
Posted by Tennessee Volunteers Insiders on Thursday, January 26, 2017