The Cleveland Browns continue to need help at the quarterback position, making Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs a name to keep an eye on later in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns are now in their third decade of looking for the team’s next franchise quarterback, but the end could be in sight.
The Browns will enter the 2017 NFL Draft with a pair of first-round selections and five of the draft’s first 65 selections, making it highly likely that they will be selecting a quarterback at some point during the first two days of the draft.
Related: Senior Bowl Watch: Josh Dobbs
In the weeks leading up to the draft the Browns have been linked at one point or another to North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, each of whom might come at a cost of a first-round pick.
But if the Browns decide to turn their attention elsewhere on the first day of the draft, there is another name that fans may need to keep an eye on in Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs.
The Volunteers’ full-time starter for the past two seasons and the 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Dobbs finished his collegiate career with school records for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, and was fifth in career passing yards.
He has gone mostly under the radar since the annual Scouting Combine, but he has caught the eye of some scouting directors, with one from an AFC team telling NFL.com:
"“Dobbs definitely has the tools to be a solid player in the league. He’s smart, tough and athletic. Plus, he showed at the Senior Bowl that he could adapt to a pro-style offense. … I’m not saying he is a Day 1 guy, but I would certainly take a chance on him as a developmental player. He’s a much better player than people think.”"
Dobbs certainly did not hurt his standing with the Browns after working with head coach Hue Jackson as a member of the South team at the Senior Bowl. After working with the Browns coaching staff during the week, Dobbs finished 12-of-15 for 104 yards in the game earning a nod from Jackson, according to SECCountry.com:
"“I thought he ran the offense, moved the ball and did the things we thought we could do. He did a good job.”"
In addition to being familiar with each other, Dobbs checks off the character issues that Jackson and the Browns prize as he was a team captain and 4.0 student at Tennessee. When it comes to the actual physical traits that Jackson wants in a quarterback, Dobbs hits several of those marks as well, according to his draft profile at CBS Sports:
"Dobbs is aided by coach Butch Jones’ spread attack, but he shows impressive understanding of the offense and where his receivers are, often resorting to second and third targets rather than relying on pre-snap reads. Has a calming presence in the huddle along with mental toughness."
"When ready to throw, the ball comes out of Dobbs’ hand like a rifle shot with a tight spin that makes it easy for pass-catchers to track. He’s especially accurate on in-breaking routes like crossers and posts but also shows the ability to place the ball low and away from defenders on deep-outs, a required throw in every NFL offense."
So where does that leave Dobbs and the Browns?
Many draft analysts see Dobbs as a third-round pick at best, so even though Cleveland has a pair of second-round picks, using the No. 52 overall selection may be a tick high. The talk is also that Dobbs will need at least a year, if not more, to get his game up to NFL speed.
Related: Browns draft profile: Deshaun Watson
Of course, all of the available quarterbacks are reportedly a year away, so no matter who the Browns select they will likely be taking the Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler show on the road in 2017.
Dobbs is the kind of dependable quarterback that can be an asset to a team, but the same could be said of Kessler, so selecting Dobbs would be a bit of a redundancy, even though he has a higher ceiling than Kessler.
The Browns need all the help they can get at quarterback, however, so it may not be the worst idea to keep an eye on Dobbs if he is available when day three of the draft rolls around.