FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In selecting Marshall receiver Aaron Dobson with the 59th overall selection in the NFL draft, the Patriots address a need with a high-upside prospect who projects to an outside role.
Dobson (6-foot-2 3/4, 210 pounds) was one of the Patriots' 30 pre-draft visits in the weeks leading up to the draft. The Patriots used about 25 percent of their visits on receivers, which seemed to be a reflection that they planned to draft a pass-catcher, and it ended up being Dobson.
One of the things that stands out about Dobson is that he fits a different profile than most of the other receivers on the roster. He's more of a pure outside target (good size, long arms) who has shown a knack for making the tough catch, although he doesn't have top-end speed.
The Pro Football Weekly draft preview calls him a "big, fluid, quicker-than-fast, short to intermediate flanker who projects best as a complementary No. 3 receiver." The draft preview notes that he ran a limited route tree, which will be one area to monitor as he makes the transition to a complex Patriots system.
The Patriots have one lock at the receiver spot in Danny Amendola (5-11, 188), and if Julian Edelman (5-10, 200) stays healthy he should also be in the mix. Dobson has a different physical makeup, which might have been why he was the pick over someone like Oregon State's Markus Wheaton (5-11, 189). Dobson also has experience on special teams as a gunner, but if things work out according to plan, his contributions to the Patriots will be more about catching the ball than what he does on fourth down.
In the video below from ESPNBoston.com's Patriots draft special prior to the draft, Trevor Matich discusses Dobson's skills at the 1:27 mark: