With year one of the Joe Philbin/Ryan Tannehill era (aka Philbin Takes Miami) in the books, Dolphins fans are eager to see how the team will address its lackluster receiver personnel this spring. Will Miami land former Philbin disciple Greg Jennings in free agency? Will they seek to find Packers-type receivers (i.e., upper-echelon No. 2 wideouts) in the upcoming 2013 draft? Will the Dolphins say "screw it" and attempt to sign every receiver who crosses their path?
Knowing Jeff Ireland's free agent and draft tendencies, and considering the fact that Philbin had front-row seats for Green Bay's receiver acquisition strategy (i.e., receivers who possess a specific skill set, and are available in rounds two through four, are fair game), smart money suggests the Dolphins will lean heavily on option No. 2 while also tapping option No. 1 (Jennings, possibly Mike Wallace). That way, the Dolphins' receiver group (on paper, at least) becomes immediately viable and gains leadership via the presence of a big-name veteran, which could also potentially quicken the overall development of receivers Miami acquires this spring.
With that scenario in mind, Marshall's Aaron Dobson stands out as one of the two- or three-most-ideal receiver prospects for Philbin and the Dolphins in this year's draft. Big (6'2", 204), strong and blessed with very good hands, Dobson is a receiver in the James Jones mold, but with increased size and athleticism (which I suppose makes him a receiver in the Jordy Nelson mode, no?). The former Marshall standout boasts very good route-running chops and is a valid deep threat despite lack of home-run speed (he's likely a low 4.5 guy). Dobson also displays the ability to pluck the ball while on the run, possesses a wide catching radius, has little problem gaining initial leverage on defenders (a big part of the reason he was so effective over the middle of the field this season), and has the shift and short-area speed to generate plenty of YAC. Far from a pure linear-based receiver, Dobson is also effective in jump-ball situations, and is a certified match-up nightmare in the red zone.
Like many Green Bay receivers, Dobson does many things well, but isn't necessarily elite in any one category, which might explain why he's currently projected as a late-second/early-third-round selection. Of course, that might not be the case after the Combine, as Dobson's broad, defined skill set could land him a spot in the early second round.