Coming into the 2016 season many fans in Knoxville thought that Josh Dobbs would have the Tennessee Vols in the hunt for an SEC Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff. And through the first five games they were right. Josh Dobbs was having a pretty good season with three touchdown passes against Virginia Tech, 319 yards passing with 4 TDs against Florida and three touchdown passes including a hail mary with no time left in a win over Georgia. There were even talk of Dobbs being a finalist in the Heisman voting. Then the wheels fell off.
Tennessee lost three straight against Texas A&M, Alabama and South Carolina and Dobbs fell off of the Heisman radar. He didn’t play that bad against the Aggies and wound up with 398 yards passing (and two interceptions) in a shootout in College Station. Alabama, on the other hand, was a nightmare. Dobbs finished with 92 yards passing and an interception. He followed it up the next week with a bad showing and two picks against an unranked South Carolina team that cost them the SEC East and a spot in the SEC Championship Game.
The Vols won their next three and appeared to have righted the ship and were looking at a berth in the Sugar Bowl as long as they won out. Dobbs threw three touchdowns in each of Tennessee’s wins against Kentucky and Missouri and everything was looking up for the program heading into the finale against Vanderbilt in Nashville.
Against Vanderbilt Dobbs had a pretty good day with 340 yards passing and 2 touchdowns against a really good defense. However, bad playcalling, a porous defense and an ill-advised pass on 4th down cost UT a game to their in-state rivals and the Vols fell out of the Sugar Bowl and landed back in Nashville for the Music City Bowl.
Despite the team stumbling down the stretch Dobbs was named to the All-SEC second team just behind Jalen Hurts from Alabama by the AP.
Last year 18 quarterbacks were invited to the NFL Combine. Dobbs is thought to be just outside of the top ten of all QBs in the draft so it’s very likely he will get invited to Indianapolis to show NFL scouts what he can do.
There are a lot of potential first round QBs this year so Dobbs will likely fall down team’s draft boards. Guys like Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina), Deshaun Watson (Clemson) and DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) are all thought to be first round picks. After that there is a logjam of guys like Brad Kaaya (Miami), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Chad Kelly (Ole Miss) who will likely go in the middle rounds. Dobbs is lumped into the third tier and will likely go in the later rounds with Seth Russell (Baylor), Greg Ward Jr (Houston) and JT Barrett (Ohio State).
Even if Dobbs didn’t get drafted it wouldn’t be a bad thing. That would allow the UT QB to pick his spot where he could fight it out in the preseason for the third quarterback spot on the roster.
Fans in Nashville probably wouldn’t mind if Dobbs was picked up by the Titans. Marcus Mariota is clearly the QB of the future but the backup Matt Cassel is 34 and hasn’t had much success in his NFL career. Alex Tanney is on the practice squad but it’s not very likely the former Monmouth QB will ever be a star in the league. Dobbs is very similar to Mariota in the fact that he is a mobile quarterback who can also throw the ball. Tennessee might actually be a very good fit if he lands there.
Another team that might have interest is Seattle. Like Tennessee, the Seahawks have a mobile QB in Russell Wilson who makes things happen with his feet and arm. Wilson’s backup is Trevone Boykin from TCU who signed with Seattle after the draft as an unsigned free agent. If he’s not selected in the draft Dobbs could battle it out with Boykin for the backup job or even land on the practice squad as the third string QB.
A lot still has to play out for Dobbs. He still has a bowl game, the Combine and possibly the Senior Bowl. He hasn’t been invited to the Senior Bowl yet, despite being on their watch list. Outside of football Dobbs is a smart young man who will leave campus with a degree in Aerospace Engineering so even if the NFL doesn’t pan out he will have something to fall back on.