For our next running back prospect we are headed back to the Big Ten conference for JK Dobbins of Ohio State. His performance this year should really help his draft stock as Ohio State heads to the College Football Playoff.
JK Dobbins had a career year for the Buckeyes and that should help his draft stock quite a bit, recording over 1,800 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. Like Taylor, Dobbins is quick and patient in the holes and once he runs through you, he is certainly hard to catch. Him and Taylor are very close in speed, Taylor beating Dobbins by just 0.02 seconds in their latest unofficial 40 times. Dobbins does not quite have the build that Taylor does, but he still uses his explosiveness as a pure advantage to power through defenders.
Dobbins has also proven worthy of the passing-game, recording 598 yards and five touchdowns throughout his three years at Ohio State. This clearly will give him an advantage over guys like Jonathan Taylor, who is still unproven in that area. For a guy with his speed, Dobbins is an impressive route runner for his position.
Unlike D’Andre Swift JK Dobbins has shown he can be a workhorse. He ran the football over 700 times in his career. Dobbins is the definition of a big play guy. Every Saturday there was another highlight of the Buckeye taking a carry 50+ yards to the house. Dobbins has tremendous burst that allows this to happen. Once he sees the crease he’s tough to catch.
Like Swift, Dobbins can also catch. He could be a tremendous weapon out of the backfield on 3rd down. A team can cash in on his big-play ability by getting him the ball in space and watching him work.
What a year for JK Dobbins after a disappointing 2018 season. The Junior running back has 20 touchdowns for 1,829 yards on 283 carries with 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 17 receptions. Dobbins is very exciting to watch as he has a great combination of speed, vision and balance.
Very underrated part of Dobbins’s game is letting the play develop. Dobbins does a great job being patient and finding the open hole where he can use his home run speed to finish the play off. For a guy like Dobbins’ size at 5’10, 217 lbs, he is a bit shifty and can make defenders look silly.
Whether it’s other RBs in the BIG 10 or his own teammates, JK Dobbins has always been under-the-radar despite having tremendous production throughout his career at Ohio St. All three years in a starting role, he ran over 1,000 yards. Even though last year was his weakest as he averaged two less yards per carry and had 10 less touchdowns than this year, he still had a 1,000:10 year.
Unlike Taylor and Swift, Dobbins is proven in the passing game as he combined for 43 receptions, 463 yards, and 4 touchdowns in his last two seasons. Dobbins is a similar size to Taylor and Swift and possesses similar athletic gifts and skill sets that make them top-tier prospects. Dobbins also possesses the patience, quickness and explosiveness to find the open hole and power through defenders if necessary.
The main weakness that worries me is the amount of carries JK Dobbins gets per game. In the Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin, Dobbins ran for 172 yards and a touchdown, but he also did that on 33 carries. However, Ezekiel Elliot had around the same amount of carries while he was at Ohio State and he is one of the best running backs in the NFL right now. This is still a concern for Dobbins because having over 250 carries in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons, that can take a lot out of a running back and most likely will not be overlooked.
JK’s biggest weakness is that he doesn’t have a defining characteristic. There is nothing about him that is truly special. He isn’t faster than every back, better in the pass game, or return kicks. He’s a true jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. Teams may knock him for not standing out in the crowd anywhere and wait on or simply pass on him.
Just like with Jonathan Taylor, a big issue in the drafting process could be the wear and tear. Throughout Dobbins’s career he has touched the ball 772 times, so there’s already a lot of wear on those legs. Even though Dobbins does have some nice moves against defenders, he doesn’t break a lot of tackles after contact.
Lastly with Dobbins, he isn’t as active in the passing game as he once was. His sophomore year he totaled 26 receptions, but this year he has 17. This could be the fact that the Buckeyes don’t need Dobbins as much in the passing game, because of the talent at WR, but on the bright side, it helps that he has improved every year with his yards per catch.
Dobbins’s big downside is the other two rbs ahead of him because they are the same size and have similar skill sets, but Taylor and Swift are more physical as runners and quicker. His 2018 year is also of some concern as he split carries with another back and was only averaging 4.6 yards a carry. For a team looking for a true bell-cow that can raise some red flags.
Draft Projection: With a stellar performance this year from JK Dobbins, where will he land in the 2020 NFL Draft?
I see JK Dobbins getting selected in the late-second round of the draft. Giving him an advantage in the passing game over guys like Jonathan Taylor, this could help him find a new home earlier than expected. With the amount of carries he gets, Dobbins very well could be a day one backup or starter wherever he lands. This is a solid running back draft class with first-round potential in guys like Taylor and Swift, but this could be the first year where we do not see one taken in the first round since the 2014 draft.
Dobbins is a solid prospect with the potential to be an every down back. He isn’t much better in any particular category than the first two prospects we’ve done. This leads me to believe he will be the third back taken. Like both Taylor and Swift that will probably be Day 2. However, I believe it’s going to be round three rather than two like Swift and Taylor.
After a down 2018 season, Dobbins has bounced back and has been a driving force for the top-ranked Buckeyes. Dobbins has had an exciting career with Ohio State and looks to be an intriguing prospect for any team. Due to the lack of need for a running back, we should expect Dobbins name to be called in the second round.
Dobbins athletically isn’t quite at the level of Jonathan Taylor or D’Andre Swift, but his production at Ohio St. and his pass-catch abilities could draw some eyes. I’m not expecting an rb to go in the first round or even the early second, but after then, teams will begin looking for playmakers and those rbs will go. Expect Dobbins to go after Taylor and Swift, but his pass-catching abilities could give him an upside that those two don’t.