By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Fifteen years ago, a Marshall wide receiver from the Kanawha Valley was taken in the NFL Draft.
Aaron Dobson had no designs on being the next Randy Moss during his four years in Huntington, and probably isn’t concerned with duplicating Moss’ NFL accomplishments, but he does at least have the opportunity.
The New England Patriots — the last team with which Moss was relevant — selected Dobson with the 59th overall pick in the second round Friday night, 364 days after defensive end Vinny Curry was also chosen No. 59, by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dobson took to Twitter after he was selected: “Proud to be a patriot!! Time to work!!!”
“I think, No. 1, Aaron is a very, very talented guy,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said in a statement. “He had a great career at Marshall and has a great future in the NFL, and the Patriots, they’re going to be getting a guy who’s a really big-play receiver. He can run, go up for the ball and he has good hands. He has all the skills in the world.”
A Dunbar native and South Charleston High graduate, Dobson finished his Marshall career with 24 touchdown receptions. That mark is tied for fourth in school history with Troy Brown — another Marshall wide receiver who was drafted by the Patriots, in the eighth round in 1993.
Brown is now in the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Dobson, a Conference USA second-team selection last season, was seventh in the league in catches per game (5.7) and receiving yards (67.9).
A captain on last year’s team, the Biletnikoff Award Watch List wideout missed virtually all of two games due to injury, but he was still able to set a career-high with 57 catches. He finished ninth all-time at Marshall with 2,398 career receiving yards.
Dobson is the sixth Marshall receiver to be drafted and first since Darius Watts went 54th overall to Denver in 2004. Moss went in the first round in 1998 to Minnesota (21st overall).
The others are Brown, James Williams (sixth round, 2000, Seattle) and Mike Barber (fourth, 1989, San Francisco).
The Patriots, quarterbacked by Tom Brady, lost receiver Wes Welker to Denver and signed former St. Louis Ram Danny Almendola in the offseason.