Josh Dobbs personified the term “student-athlete” at the University of Tennessee. Not only was Dobbs a standout quarterback with incredible strength and running ability, he was also an Aerospace Engineering major who displayed great intelligence on the field and in the classroom. Picking up an NFL playbook will not be the challenge for Dobbs. However, a few question marks have kept him from being one of the elite prospects at the quarterback position in this year’s draft class. This plays to the advantage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, looking for a high upside quarterback late in the draft.
Pittsburgh Steelers Should Draft Josh Dobbs
Dobbs excelled as a dual-threat quarterback in college, a style that cannot translate to the NFL without a certain level of intelligence. This is the intelligence Dobbs possesses, along with a strong arm. While still working on decision-making skills and cutting down on interceptions, Dobbs has the potential to learn an offense quickly and run it efficiently quicker than most could out of college.
Entering the 2017 off-season, one of the major questions was whether or not Ben Roethlisberger would return as he contemplated retirement. Now that Roethlisberger has clearly stated he will be back for the 2017 season, the question now is how many more years he has left. Even more daunting is the question of who will be replacing him once he decides to retire.
While the Steelers saw enough from Landry Jones to sign him to a two-year, $4.4 million dollar deal this off-season, few can argue Jones is the long-term solution to replace Roethlisberger. While Jones knows the offense well enough to run it, he did need overtime to defeat the Cleveland Browns this year. Jones is a solid backup, especially since Ben is bound to miss at least one game. Jones can manage a game well, but winning multiple games as the number one man is a whole different story.
Zach Mettenberger is also on the roster, but may only hold onto the third string job if the Steelers choose not to draft a quarterback in the 2017 draft. With no long-term solution to a Ben Roethlisberger retirement on the roster, it would be very beneficial for the Steelers to draft a late-round quarterback that can develop and learn under Roethlisberger with the intent of taking over when Ben decides to retire. With Dobbs not projected to go until the sixth round in the draft, the fit seems perfect.
NFL Combine Statistics
At the NFL Combine, Dobbs measured in at 6’3″ and 216 pounds. His arm and hand lengths were measured at 32 ⅝ inches and 9 ¼ inches respectively. Dobbs ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds, the three-cone drill in 6.75 seconds, and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.31 seconds. He broad jumped 122 inches and measured in at 33 inches in the vertical jump.
The biggest criticisms facing Dobbs in the next level is his weight and his decision making. While Dobbs has the speed to run as a quarterback in the NFL, he will need to put on some weight in order to avoid injury risk associated with his dual-threat capabilities . Also, the biggest statistical blemish on Dobbs’s record is interceptions. Dobbs will be seeing more complex defenses in the NFL and will not be able to make as many careless mistakes with the football as he did in college.
Dobbs biggest strengths are found in his intelligence, his speed, and his arm strength. As mentioned before, Dobbs is very intelligent both on and off the field. This plays to the advantage of the Steelers should they choose to draft him as learning the offense quickly will exponentially speed up the process of grooming him to take over the offense. Dobbs’ speed not only allows him to avoid the rush, but also to pick up yardage. Finally, Dobbs can throw the deep ball with accuracy, which could help receiver Sammie Coates, the Steelers’ number one over-the-top threat.