J.K. Dobbins – Ohio State – 5’9″ 209 lbs. – 21 Years Old (12/17/98)

Dobbins is a big play waiting to happen. He presents a combination of interior and exterior running ability with clear promise in his receiving ability.

  • Dobbins ran a decent mix of looks ranging from run pass options to traditional power running. 
  • Both the top end speed and acceleration are excellent. I don’t care that he didn’t run the 40 at the combine. Both, his acceleration and speed, are self evident. The questions with Dobbins have nothing to do with either. 
  • Along with the acceleration, Dobbins can stop and go on a dime whether it be laterally in a cut or straight line stop and go.

Acceleration to hit the hole and break through the LB and safety merging. Then, the jets to take it to the house. Giddy up!
Side note: I could’ve chosen any number of clips to show you his breakaway speed. He’s done it against every level of opponent.  

  • The example above is just a taste of the head and body fake that Dobbins puts on poor defenders with his juke move and lateral cuts. 
  • Dobbins fully commits to the fake using his whole body, head, then a hard step to sell the fake before he cuts and leaves the defender.
  • Adding to his great lateral agility and hard step is his ability to see the lane for the cut back. He sees the back side opening as well as anyone, or better, in this draft class. 
  • There are times where he goes slightly too hard on the juke and can cost himself some speed, but not something I’d worry about long term. The benefit of him leaving guys behind vs the rare speed drop is well worth it. 

Here is Dobbins on his 3rd touch of the game vs Clemson. Nothing too fancy here. The OLB gets caught reading the quarterback for a split second too long, but you can see how one bad read is all it takes for Dobbins. He gives the full juke move to the safety who then trips and has no chance to catch back up. 

  • The most receptions he’s had in any single season is 26. Despite the lower number of receptions, Dobbins has shown a knack for running routes and receiving the ball.
  • He can catch the ball in stride, away from his body to make the most out of his opportunities. 
  • He runs routes aggressively using his acceleration to create space. 
  • Wasn’t asked to run much beyond the standard RB route tree in college, so, may have some work to do to expand his route options.
  • On occasion, he did get excited about the possibility of breaking a big play and dropped the ball. This happens to all players that receive the ball at some point, but if it happens once in a game, he makes sure it doesn’t happen again the rest of the game.
  • Blocking is okay, but chooses his assignment or waits too long to engage at times.

A hard run to the outside to start the route and make the OLB commit to the outside route. A nice cutback to the inside and the OLB has no chance. The inside backer sees the play develop, but it’s too late by then. Dobbins catches the ball in stride, even though it’s behind him, and strolls in for an easy score. 

  • The biggest concern on Dobbins is whether he has the stature to hold up to the more physical running assignments at the next level. 
  • 10 years ago, he would’ve been undersized and likely due for a special teams and gadget play role. Fast forward to 2020, we have multiple running backs at 5’9″ or 5’10” going in the first round. 
  • There are times on film where his lack of size hurts him. He gets slowed a little too much on occasion by an arm tackle. He isn’t necessarily the back that’s going to stand up and push a pile for the extra yard. He’s more likely to dive or spin his way to the extra yard. 
  • While it is a concern for fantasy as he may lose the occasional touchdown to a vulture, he’s a tough, physical runner. He’s not one to shy away from contact and has the interior running ability to find open space in small areas. 
  • He may not bulldoze his way through a pack, but he can weave his way through.

The assignments are maintained and he should be down around the line of scrimmage. However, he lays a nasty stiff arm on the backer in the hole and he gets outside quickly to the secondary. You get a juke and another stiff arm at the end of the run along with a strong finish (where’s Michael Scott when you need him?). 

Check out the stiff arm up close. “Get off me! BUT I’M ON YOU ALL DAY!”

When I sat down to do the film review and start my rankings, I didn’t want to like Dobbins. He plays for the Buckeyes (gross) and I thought he might be the back I’d be down on after watching him play. WRONG (in Donald Trump voice).

Dobbins comes in at 2 in my pre-draft RB rankings behind D’andre Swift. Swift brings a more physical presence along with the speed, acceleration, and receiving ability we have from Dobbins. Dobbins has everything a team wants from a running back in football these days and his penchant for the big play is going to win weeks. 

  1. Aces says:
    (link)

    Alright Guys,

    I won last year.
    I need to keep 4 of the below.

    Barkley (obvious)
    Evans
    Godwin
    Kelce (I gave up a ton for him last year)
    Mixon

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