Joshua Dobbs spent his college career at Tennessee showcasing an elite ability to evade would-be tacklers with his legs, but he’s spent the last few months trying to shed doubters of his arm.
However, Dobbs doesn’t have to convince ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, who heaped praise on the 2016 Second Team All-SEC signal-caller in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
McShay believes Dobbs is the fifth-best quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft — which begins on April 27 — rated behind Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and DeShone Kiser.
With that, McShay thinks Dobbs will go in the second round, going as far as to say Dobbs could be a “gem from this year’s draft class when we look back on it.”
Dobbs guided a Vols offense that scored more points (473) and touchdowns (63) than any season in school history. Individually, Dobbs set numerous rushing records during his career in Knoxville, but Dobbs has turned McShay’s head with his improvement as a passer.
“Every game I watched, I liked him a little bit more,” said McShay, whose opinion of Dobbs started to sweeten at the Senior Bowl. “I know the accuracy wasn’t elite, but it was better than the numbers would indicate, better than the narrative right now out there because there were a lot of dropped balls, there were a lot of throws where the receiver didn’t break at the right time or at the wrong break.
“You combine the size, the arm strength, he can whip it, the footwork, the quickness of his feet, the ability to extend plays,” McShay said. “I would argue he’s the most dangerous runner of all these quarterbacks, and that’s very low on the totem poll in terms of importance, but it’s a nice extra.”
McShay also points to the fact that Dobbs hasn’t put his full focus into football, and he’s interested to see what he can do with a commitment squarely on football.