Running back, Ohio State Buckeyes
40 time: 4.50e
Dobbins was not satisfied with his sophomore season’s production (1,339 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns) for the Buckeyes and re-committed himself over the offseason, dropping to just 8 percent body fat while still maintaining his weight. Broke Eddie George’s single-season Ohio State record for rushing yards with 2,003 to cap his college career and is the only back in school history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.
He opted to sit out at the NFL Scouting Combine as he continued to recover from an ankle injury sustained in the College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Clemson.
Dobbins is a little shorter than some would prefer but otherwise sports an ideal frame for the position. Compact like a Sherman Tank, Dobbins attacks with weight-room-provided body armor, massive thighs that help him grind through arm tackles and a naturally low center of gravity that makes it difficult on defenders to knock him off his feet. He complements his power with the maneuverability of a hoverboard, zipping forward, left and right to elude defenders in tight spaces. Boasts one of the elite jump-cuts in the country, vanishing from the hole in a blink and skipping to new lanes. Has terrific vision and anticipation for cutback lanes, understanding fronts and where holes may open up. Hits the ground running like he’s jumping onto the moving walkway at the airport, accelerating much quicker than his stubby frame suggests and throwing off pursuit angles. Finishes his runs, incorporating a powerful and aggressive stiff-arm to knock away defenders, scrapping for every yard and consistently falling forward. He’s also a reliable receiver out of the backfield, collecting passes easily and tucking away securely and efficiently without taking his eyes off the defense. Blocks bigger than his size due to excellent knee bend, aggression and physicality.
Dobbins may not run as fast for the stopwatch as he plays. He shows good but not elite breakaway speed, topping out in the open field. A trustworthy ball-handler for the most part, he did wear down a bit in 2019, fumbling three times (including in back-to-back November games against Penn State and Michigan) after coughing up the ball just once during his sophomore season. Leaves some tread at Ohio State with 796 career touches — and that is after rushing for 2,740 yards and 35 TDs in just 11 games as a high school junior in La Grange, Texas, prior to missing all but the first snap of his senior season with a broken right fibula and severely sprained ankle.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints — More elusive than his Ohio State predecessor Ezekiel Elliott, Dobbins has an all-around game more similar to the Saints’ superstar. Kamara also plays significantly faster than the 4.56 he clocked during combine testing. Like Kamara, Dobbins looks like a future centerpiece, but whether he goes in the first round could depend on how teams feel about his speed.
Projection: First-second round