WR Aaron Dobson is entering his second season with the New England Patriots. The Patriots drafted Dobson out of Marshall with their second-round pick (59th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft. Dobson started nine games last season and played in 12. In his rookie season he had 37 receptions for 519 yards and four touchdowns. The 519 yards and four touchdowns were the most by a Patriots rookie WR since Bill Belichick became the head coach.
Dobson has not participated in OTAs yet. It is believed he is still recovering from surgery he had on his left foot on Mar. 10 to repair a stress fracture. It was always doubtful Dobson would be able to participate in OTAs, but he should be ready in plenty of time for the start of the regular season. The earlier he can get back on the field and continue to work with QB Tom Brady the better.
After a rocky start in 2013, where Brady connected with Dobson on only 13 of 29 passes, they got into a better rhythm and Brady completed 26-of-45 attempts to Dobson in their final seven games on the field together. The Patriots hope that Dobson, at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, will be the deep threat they desperately need; at times last season he was spectacular, but other times he struggled to secure balls that were contested.
The Patriots have a plethora of receivers on their roster, although not a ton of height at the position. The two tallest receivers who should expect to see a good amount of playing time are Dobson and free agent acquisition Brandon LaFell who is 6-foot-2. Dobson and LaFell should work towards being deep threats for the Patriots, but in regards to playing time, they have plenty of competition. With the lack of depth at the TE position and Rob Gronkowski still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season, the Patriots and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will probably get away from the two TE sets. This means the wideouts should see more action in 2014. Dobson will be competing with LaFell and fellow second-year receivers Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins, along with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman for playing time.
If Dobson can play with more consistently and with more confidence in 2014, he could be on the field for a lot of snaps and have the opportunity to really improve in his second season.