Update: According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Dobson is listed as ‘questionable’ and could suit up for the AFC Championship game.
“I’m glad to get another opportunity to hopefully get back out on the field this Sunday.” Dobson told media. If I’m reading into that correctly, it seems to me that he’s likely to play.
New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson practiced for the first time in two weeks on Wednesday after suffering a foot injury against Buffalo in the first quarter. Dobson had the bye week and had the Divisional round of the playoffs against the Colts to heal up and I believe he could be a huge factor in the AFC Championship.
The Broncos suffered a huge loss in the secondary when they lost their number one corner Chris Harris to season-ending IR. This makes the Broncos secondary vulnerable, but with only smaller Patriots receivers to attack it – or not so much if Dobson’s back.
Dobson is 6’3 200 pounds and is a respectable vertical threat just based on his size alone, but what Dobson offers is what the other Patriots receivers don’t. Dobson isn’t in the 5’10 slot receiver category, but instead he is bigger, stronger and a little faster vertically. Dobson ran a 4.35 40-yard dash while Edelman ran a 4.52 and Amendola ran a 4.58.
Dobson has been inconsistent, but was projected to be the 14th best receiver coming out of that draft and has had big play catches of 39, 81 and 53 yards this season. Dobson’s average yards per catch is 14 while Edelman’s is 10.1 and Amendola’s is 11.7. The difference seems small, but it puts him right with players like A.J. Green and Julio Jones in that category.
Dobson’s size can also be a plus in the run-game as the Patriots are looking to build on two consecutive performances from LeGarrette Blount. His size and strength will be a stumbling block for all the corners besides Rodgers-Cromartie, who is 6’2.
With the Broncos being depleted and older in the secondary, the Patriots may be able to get something going if Dobson is able to return. If for nothing else, Dobson is a good decoy to distract the Broncos from other things that the Patriots do well like short passes to Edelman and Vereen.
I’m not going to book it, but if Dobson is anywhere near healthy and he plays, I believe he’ll have a big impact on that game both in the passing game and running game.
It’s a big spot for a rookie that, at times, couldn’t hang onto the ball, but he will likely have Denver’s worst corner on him and that is a matchup he should and can win.