Concentration drops a bit of a minor issue. (1:35, 2:39)
Worked the angle route well (1:09, 1:22),
but he wasn't asked to run an expansive route tree and has room
to grow in terms of doing so crisply.
Forced 73 missed tackles in all in 2019, but broke only seven
tackles on 71 catches in his college career, per Pro Football
Dobbins did not work out at the NFL Combine due in part to a high
ankle sprain suffered in his final college game, but he gave evaluators
a glimpse of his raw athleticism in 2016 when he ran a 4.45 in
the 40, a 4.09-second short shuttle and posted a 43-inch vertical
jump at a Nike-sponsored event in Oregon. Those numbers carried
over to the field, as his explosiveness shows up on his tape more
often than perhaps any other trait he brings to the table. To
that end, the Texas native led all draft-eligible running backs
with 31 carries of 15-plus yards in 2019, per PFF.
For all the upside Dobbins possesses and the gaudy numbers he
produced in college, he is not an easy projection to the next
level. First, there is the multilayered issue of Ohio State boasting
substantially more NFL talent than most of its opposition most
weeks and its offensive scheme creating more space for a high-level
athlete like Dobbins than most college backs get. In short, while
Dobbins did well to anticipate where holes were about to form
on many of his runs, he also ran through his fair share of alleys
that most good high-school running backs could exploit. Beyond
that, he was manhandled too many times as a blocker in 2019, which
would almost certainly keep him from becoming a featured back
early in his career if it continued in the NFL. For whatever reason,
Dobbins improved significantly in this area as the season came
to a close.
Dobbins is a bit of a walking contrast. He is a big play waiting
to happen on just about every touch, but there are too many times
where he doesn't pull away from defenders. He runs with power
and flashes the ability to break tackles consistently, but he
also gets stopped dead in his tracks too often on inside runs.
He is a capable receiver, but it was hard to watch him in pass
protection until the final few games of 2019. There's no question
he has the goods to be a three-down back in the NFL, but the aforementioned
dichotomies raise enough concerns about consistency that he should
probably be drafted as the explosive change-of-pace back in a
committee. If his play in the final few games can quiet concerns
about his issues in pass pro for evaluators and he can quickly
pick up where he left off in that regard, then he has as good
of a chance to be the most productive at his position in this
class as any back. Also, while scheme fit is important for most
running backs, it may be more important for Dobbins than most.
It's not that he can't run in between the tackles, but rather
his ability to create space and accelerate quickly would be wasted
to some degree.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.