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Rookie refresher: Aaron Dobson

07.18.13 at 5:31 pm ET

In the days leading up to training camp, will reopen the book on the team’s 2013 draft class. The Pats, who traded their first-round pick to the Vikings, brought in seven players via the draft.

Aaron Dobson

Wide receiver, Marshall

Drafted: Second round (59th overall)
Height/weight: 6-foot-2 6/8, 210 pounds

Why they drafted him: First of all, they did it out of need. The Pats had lost Wes Welker to free agency, replaced him with a productive but oft-injured Danny Amendola, released Brandon Lloyd and signed Donald Jones (sorry, but we won’t count Michael Jenkins in this mix). All of that shuffling at wide receiver meant that the draft was the perfect time to take another stab at drafting a potential impact receiver they could develop. When you factor in that they would later lose Aaron Hernandez, the need for help in the passing game becomes greater.

As for what Dobson did to make him the man for the Pats (they passed on bigger names like Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, Keenan Allen and Robert Woods when they traded out of the first round, after all), he stood out in multiple in ways at Marshall. He wrapped up a productive four-year career at Marshall by dropping a grand total of zero passes on 92 targets last year. His speed and athleticism are good enough for his size, but he’s best known for this catch.

What to expect from him as a rookie:

That’s where things get tricky. With all of the turnover at receiver, you’d like to think that Dobson can come in and make an impact, but the Patriots’ track record of developing receivers has been dreadful, with Deion Branch (2002) the closest thing they’ve had to a home-grown star at the position.

As a rookie, it’s expected that Dobson will compete with Jones and fellow rookie Josh Boyce for playing time as the Pats try to replace Lloyd on the outside. Jones might have the initial leg up as a guy as an NFL veteran, but ultimately Dobson has the higher ceiling. A former coach of his sees him being a taller Anquan Boldin in the NFL, which would certainly be something the Pats would welcome. In fact, after missing on early-round receivers like Chad Jackson and Bethel Johnson in the past, the Pats would happily take any sort of prolonged impact from Dobson.

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