The Pittsburgh Steelers used their 4th round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to take Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs at pick 135.
Grading the Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers Take Josh Dobbs
Josh Dobbs is no ordinary college quarterback. Not only was the Tennessee quarterback a leader on the field, but also off of it as well. On the field, Dobbs led the SEC in touchdown passes with 27, and has led the Vols to three bowl game victories in his career. Off the field, Dobbs majored in aerospace engineering at Tennessee, completing some of the toughest course work college has to offer. Dobbs has always held his classes in high regard, and for that established himself as one of the premiere minds in the 2017 NFL Draft class.
Entering the draft, the biggest question around Dobbs was his decision making skills while handling the ball. He did throw 12 interceptions last year, and many believe he needs to be more cautious with the ball at the next level. However, Dobbs’ ability to learn and run an NFL offense was never questioned. Combine his brain with dual-threat running ability and a rocket arm, and you get what was destined to be a draft day steal. His arm was at full strength at the combine, where Dobbs threw multiple passes of 50 plus yards with extreme accuracy.
How He Fits
Dobbs now will compete with career backup Landry Jones for the right to play behind Ben Roethlisberger. With Roethlisberger nearing retirement, many believed this was the year the Steelers needed to get a quarterback in the draft. Although they re-signed Jones, he has not displayed enough to show he can be the long term solution to a Roethlisberger retirement. Dobbs will be able to learn the offense with relative ease, and be able to compete immediately for the second spot. Also, Dobbs’ deep ball ability will benefit the Steelers’ speedy receivers, especially Sammie Coates, who favors the streak route.
Dobbs has many strengths. In addition to his mind and his arm, he can also produce running the ball. Many times throughout his career, Ben Roethlisberger has escaped the rush and found his target on spectacular plays. Not only can Dobbs escape the rush, he can also pick up significant yardage with his legs. Dobbs rushed for 831 yards and an additional 12 touchdowns at Tennessee last season. His running ability, coupled with his physical strength, will allow him to carry the ball effectively when under pressure at the next level.
Needs to Improve
While Dobbs can run the ball effectively, he will need to add some weight to reduce his risk for injury. Many scouts believe Dobbs will need to add to his 216 pound frame to help prevent injuries associated with being a running quarterback. Also a glaring weakness is the aforementioned interceptions. With more complex defensive schemes in Dobbs’ future, it is imperative that he take care of the ball and make good decisions in the pocket. However, it should certainly help that he will be throwing to one of the most skilled receiving corps in the league.
Final Grade: A+
With comparisons to the Dak Prescott selection of last season by the Dallas Cowboys, this pick is already being heralded as the steal of the draft. The pick makes sense not only for a team that needs to groom a future franchise quarterback, but also for a quarterback who will benefit significantly from watching and learning from Ben Roethlisberger. Dobbs fits perfectly with the Steelers offense, and will be able to compete for the backup position immediately. Finally, Dobbs potential reward outweighs the minimal risk of using a fourth round draft pick to select a quarterback. This selection is a win head to toe for the Steelers.