Over the course of the off-season, wide receiver has become a position of need for the New England Patriots.
The team targeted that need with its second pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft his past weekend when it chose Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson.
“Aaron [Dobson] was a great high school basketball player and football player,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “Was a very productive player at Marshall. Had a real good Senior Bowl. [Dobson has] real good size, good speed for [his] position, and [has] been productive at good levels.”
Dobson, according to NFL.com, has been highly regarded as the most promising pro receiver prospect from Marshall since former New England Patriots deep threat Randy Moss. Dobson has caught 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons and while he may not have Moss’ talent, he still possesses qualities that will likely see him selected in the first 100 picks.
Dobson is considered to be the potential deep threat in the Patriots' offense the team has been missing and will give quarterback Tom Brady a big target to throw to. Dobson checks in at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds.
To read Dobson's profile, click here.
The Patriots second draft pick of the 2013 NFL Draft spoke to media Friday night to talk about joining the team in Foxborough. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: What are your thoughts on being part of the Patriots family now?
AD: It’s an exciting time, man. Just to have the opportunity to play in the NFL and play for a great team like the Patriots is just a blessing from the man above. I’m just excited to hit the ground running.
Q: How much do you know about the Patriots? Do you have any preconceived notions about who they are and how they operate?
AD: I just know that they’re a great team. I know the head coach and stuff like that. [I don’t know too much about] how they operate. I’m just ready to see, actually.
Q: How much pre-draft contact did you have with them?
AD: I talked to them. I went up there for a visit and they showed some interest. They were definitely one of the teams that showed some interest in me.
Q: Do you have a relationship with either of the high profile Marshall alumni that have played for the Patriots, Troy Brown and Randy Moss?
AD: I’ve met them. I wouldn’t say I have any type of relationship where I could call them or anything like that, but I’ve definitely met them. Troy has been around the facility a lot and I’ve met him.
Q: What are your impressions of Randy Moss and have you ever tried to model your game after him?
AD: Moss is a great player. He definitely did his thing in the NFL. He came in and went straight to work. I’m going to try to come in and make my own name. Really just do what I can do to help my team win and do what I can do to make myself better and be great.
Q: Can you talk to us a little about that Randy Moss-esque catch you made against ECU?
AD: I saw the ball in the air and I just went to go get it. That’s just how it turned out.
*NOTE: Click the YouTube video above to watch the “Moss-esque” catch Dobson made against ECU last season.
Q: The Patriots have rarely drafted receivers under Bill Belichick, possibly because it's a difficult system for guys to grasp coming out of college. How advanced is the system at Marshall and how prepared are you to handle the complexities of the NFL?
AD: I think I’m ready. It’s definitely something that I’ve been getting prepared for just going through this whole process, doing what everyone tells me with the pressure of going into the league. I’m just going in focused and ready to start my new life with the Patriots and my new life in the NFL.
Q: You had no drops as a senior. Is that the part of your game you take the most pride in?
AD: Yeah, I definitely take pride in that. Me being a receiver, that’s what we do. That’s how we make our money, catching the ball, so we definitely take pride in that.
Q: You're a guy that can get into the end zone. Can you talk about your 24 career touchdowns?
AD: I feel like I had a great career at Marshall. I think my stats improved every year I was there. I came in and played as a freshman and did some good things last year and then my freshman year, sophomore year, junior year and senior year, I feel like I improved every year. This is exciting and I’m ready to start practicing and keep getting better.
Q: What do you think about the chance to play with Tom Brady?
AD: Oh man, that right there, you can’t beat that. [He’s] the best quarterback in the league. It’s amazing because I’ve been watching him for so long and now that I get the chance to go play with him, it’s a blessing.
Q: Is that intimidating at all?
AD: No, not intimidating at all. I’m excited to know him and start catching balls from him just to try to help the [team] out.
Q: With your route running, how much post-snap adjusting did you do at Marshall?
AD: We definitely had our routes where we had to convert if it was a certain type of coverage. I’m definitely familiar with that.
Q: Why did your yards per catch keep going down each year?
AD: I really don’t know. I wouldn’t say it was one particular thing I can pinpoint it to. I definitely just did what I could to help my team all my years at Marshall.
Q: How close were you to playing college basketball?
AD: It would have been cool, just because of how big a basketball player I was in high school. It would have been fun getting to play. My younger years in college, I actually wanted to play but it didn’t work out. But it definitely would have been fun to play.
Q: Did you get an invite or take a tour at Northeastern as a possible basketball player?
AD: Yes, I did. I went up there and visited Northeastern coming out of high school actually. I went there and visited the basketball team. I actually liked Boston, liked it up there, liked the school. But I just ended up leaning toward Marshall for football.
Q: What do you do away from the football field?
AD: I’m a real laid back type of guy. I really just like to kick it with my family and friends.
Q: You don't have any hobbies?
AD: I mean, I play video games. I don't do too much. I play video games. I play football. I was going to school until I graduated. I’m really just a big family guy and I kick it with my friends.