Position: Running Back
Weight: 209 pounds
School: Ohio State Buckeyes
Combine Performance Data
Bench press: 23 reps (tied for fifth-best among running backs)
J.K. Dobbins 2020 NFL Draft Profile
Suffice it to say that there was a lot of pressure for J.K. Dobbins to continue the tradition of greatness at the running back position for Ohio State. The program was just a few years removed from Ezekiel Elliott helping them win a national title. And, of course, there have been so many elite Buckeye running backs over the years, including Eddie George and the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin. So much was certainly expected out of Dobbins. And at the end of the day, he delivered.
Rated the 66th-best player in the nation by Rivals, Dobbins was a relatively early commit in Urban Meyer‘s 2017 class, giving his pledge to OSU in March of the previous year. He enrolled early, familiarized himself with the offense, and eventually became just the sixth true freshman in Buckeye history to start a season-opener. It was a veritable coming-out party as he went for 181 yards on 29 carries in a win over Indiana. He would go on to account for 1,403 rushing yards in 2017, a record for an Ohio State freshman while adding eight total touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving).
Dobbins’ production from a yardage standpoint took a dip in 2018 as he managed just 1,053 yards. But he did find the end zone more frequently compared to his freshman campaign as he totaled 12 scores (10 rushing, two receiving). Dobbins truly shined during his junior season which would inevitably be his last in Columbus. He was one of just four running backs to rush for over 2,000 yards and his 21 rushing touchdowns were tied for third-best in all of FBS. Though he didn’t receive an invite to the Heisman Trophy ceremony, Dobbins did finish sixth in the final voting for the award.
- sports a well-built frame;
- exceptional vision in the second level makes him a constant home run threat;
- hard to bring down once he’s in the open field;
- was highly durable despite a heavy workload;
- punishes would-be tacklers who take poor pursuit angles;
- should have no problem beating defenders to the edge on outside zone runs;
- attacks gaps with authority;
- reliable as a pass-catcher;
- will be a legit decoy for teams who employ a lot of RPO;
- plays stronger than his size indicates;
- not afraid to mix things up as a pass-blocker;
- three years of consistent starter-level reps.
- not the most laterally shifty;
- a bit overly reliant on his line opening gaps rather than creating on his own;
- somewhat average initial quickness;
- defenders who are solid wrap-up tacklers generally bring him down with ease;
- a bit of a foot-gatherer when hop-cutting in space;
- already has quite a bit of mileage on his legs.
NFL Comparison: Ameer Abdullah
Projection: second round
From his first collegiate game to his last, J.K. Dobbins lit things up and demonstrated his quality as one of the best backs in FBS. And he leaves Ohio State having carried on the tradition the program has when it comes to producing elite players at this position. He won’t wow you with his creativity. But he’s incredibly hard to tackle once he’s into the second and third levels of the defense. And his college resume suggests that he can shoulder a large workload while avoiding injury. He likely won’t hear his name called on day one of the draft. But it won’t be long before he comes off the board on day two. And he should compete for starter reps right off the bat.