Given Troy Brown’s ties to Marshall University, it’s no surprise that he would be a passenger on a flight out of Charleston, West Virginia. He often splits his time between West Virginia and New England.
Nick Caserio, not so much.
So one could imagine Brown’s surprise a few months ago when he found himself on the same plane as Caserio departing Charleston, which sparked an impromptu Patriots reunion and also a discussion on Marshall receiver Aaron Dobson. The reason Caserio had been in Charleston was for a private workout with Dobson.
“I could tell he really liked the kid,” Brown relayed.
But liking a player and drafting him don’t always marry up. In this case it did, the club selecting Dobson in the second round (59th overall).
“He’s the kind of [receiver] they haven’t seen around here, especially in a young body,” said Brown, the longtime Patriots fan favorite. “I’m not taking anything away from Deion Branch [or others], but he’s a young body with good height (6-3) and good size (210) who catches the ball very well. He had a few drops, but when you can catch, you can catch. He makes a lot of tough catches, and in this league, that’s what you have to do, especially when facing tough man-to-man coverage; you have to make some special plays and he’s capable of doing that.”
Brown, who during the NFL season provides Patriots analysis on Comcast SportsNet, touched on the importance of Dobson’s route-running in the Patriots’ system.
“Here, playing for a quarterback as demanding as Tom [Brady], you have to be as perfect as possible running routes, and [Dobson] has a tremendous amount of upside,” he said. “He’s able to get behind defenders and stretch the field if needed, but he also does a lot of things that smaller receivers can do in the intermediate [areas].”
Despite their Marshall ties, Brown said he doesn’t know the 21-year-old Dobson well. From others, he’s heard positive reviews.
Of course, the Marshall connection is a good place to start.
“The more guys from Marshall, the better, especially receivers,” Brown cracked. “He didn’t put up outstanding numbers, but in the big picture of it, I think the Patriots did a good job evaluating. I think they might have gotten themselves a pretty good steal in the second round. Hopefully he sticks around as long as I did.”