Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs’ college career has officially come to a close, and what a ride it’s been. Dobbs took over as the full-time starter for the Vols at the start of the 2015 season after starting the last half of both the 2013 and 2014 seasons due to injuries at the position. And since making his first start on November 11, 2013, Dobbs has grown exceptionally as a quarterback.
Yet the question remains: Should Josh Dobbs be drafted into the NFL? Scouts and NFL experts doubted Dobbs’ accuracy and ability to be more than a glorified running back at quarterback beyond the college level, and many believed he had little future in the NFL heading into this season.
After the 2016 season, however, Dobbs has done enough to prove he should be taken in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.
Josh Dobbs put together a very impressive final campaign at Tennessee this season. Dobbs completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,946 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He also ran the ball 150 times for 831 yards and 12 scores, breaking the records he set last season for most rushing yards and rushing scores by a quarterback in a season in Tennessee history.
This season, Dobbs set career-highs in every major offensive category imaginable. Dobbs set personal bests in yards passing, passing touchdowns, passing yards per game, yards per attempt, rushing touchdowns, rushing yards, and total yards accounted for. In fact, Dobbs’ 3,781 total yards this season was just nine yards shy of breaking Peyton Manning’s record for most total yards gained in a season when Manning amassed 3,789 in 1997.
Dobbs shook off some concerns about his passing accuracy this season and his ability to throw a deep ball. Not only did Dobbs go on a tear to end the regular season, but he completed more deep passes than ever and had his best completion percentage since becoming a full-time starter.
And that’s just what he did this season.
Josh Dobbs will finish his Tennessee career with 87 total touchdowns. Dobbs threw 53 touchdowns, ran for 32, and caught an additional two scores. Only Peyton Manning (101 total touchdowns) had more in Tennessee history.
Being second only to Peyton Manning for anything in Tennessee history is a big deal. But those aren’t the only impressive numbers Dobbs put up in his career.
Josh Dobbs finishes his Vol career with 9,298 combined passing and rushing yards. That total places him third all-time in Tennessee history behind Casey Clausen (9,577) and Manning (11,020). Dobbs finishes with the most rushing touchdowns and yards by a quarterback in Tennessee history, and he is only the third Tennessee player ever to score 30 or more rushing touchdowns. Only James Stewart (35) and Gene McEver (37) have done it as Tennessee players.
Dobbs’ 614 career pass completions are the fourth-most in Tennessee history. Only Erik Ainge (733), Casey Clausen (775), and Manning (863) had more. His 53 passing touchdowns are the fifth-most in school history, and Dobbs also finishes fifth all-time in passing yards at Tennessee with 7,138 yards.
If those players aren’t good enough company for him to be lumped into, then try this stat on for size: Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott are the only other SEC quarterbacks besides Dobbs to have multiple seasons with 15 or more passing touchdowns and 10 or more rushing scores.
Do all these numbers mean Dobbs should be drafted in the first round like Tebow or Manning or even the fourth round like Prescott? No, they don’t. But his career progression does show that he is a much better draft prospect than initially thought.
Josh Dobbs put together a memorable career at Tennessee, and he proved this season he can improve his game even more. Dobbs is deserving of a late-round pick by some NFL team looking for an athletic, intelligent, and versatile quarterback for its roster.
Expect Josh Dobbs’ name to be called during the NFL Draft and for him to be wearing a new uniform this time next year. He’s certainly earned it.