Former Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs might be one of the most intriguing storylines leading into this year’s NFL draft.
Nobody questions his athleticism, his leadership, character, integrity, work ethic or really any other intangible that you’d want in a signal caller in the NFL. One massive question must be answered as he participates at this week’s Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine and any other workouts he participates in: What about his accuracy?
Because while, at times, he put the ball right on the money at Tennessee, there were certainly plenty of forgettable throws as well. His accuracy seemed to come and go – a little bit like an enigmatic baseball pitcher who would could sit a team down 1-2-3 or walk the bases loaded at any point.
The good news for Dobbs is that his accuracy improved in 2016, jumping from 59.6% during his junior season (and first year as a full-time starter) to 63% as a senior. And while the defensive competition wasn’t always the greatest, he was dealing down the stretch – completing over 80% of his passes in the final four games of the regular season, and posting a strong performance in the Music City Bowl too. All the while, he ran for over 115 yards in three of those final five collegiate contest.
The scouting website Pro Football Focus put out an interesting accuracy chart for Dobbs that looks at every pass he threw during his senior year:
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) January 23, 2017
One interesting takeaway: Dobbs was very accurate on the deep ball, completing six out of eight passes that travelled over 40 yards with all of the completions going for touchdowns. None of those passes were intercepted.
His struggles came primarily on intermediate throws, especially to the sideline. A vast majority of his completions came in the short game – throws of 10 yards or less, with a lot o them also coming at or behind the line of scrimmage.
What can be taken from this? The notion that Dobbs can’t throw the deep ball might’ve been overstated a bit, and Tennessee fans that wanted Butch Jones and Mike DeBord to dial up a few more shot plays might’ve had a good point. Dobbs also had a fair amount of completions in the middle of the field, an area that UT hasn’t utilized a ton under Jones.
But there are concerns with his ability to throw some pretty important routes such as the corner and the deep out. The chart shows that he simply had a hard time throwing those (though some of the incompletions are likely intended throw-aways).
And that’s probably why the truth is somewhere in the middle with Dobbs as a pro prospect. He’s not an elite one that teams will take and expect to play early. But he offers enough that some team should take a chance on him in April and see if they can work on a few of his flaws to turn him into a potential starter at the next level at some point.