NASHVILLE, Tenn. — ESPN’s Jon Gruden was high on
Gruden also sees a whole lot of potential in University of Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs.
“I think he can be a great, front-line Pro Bowl quarterback in the league, I don’t have any doubts about that if he can stay healthy and they can add a few pieces to their receiving corps. He just has all the intangibles and all the qualities I am looking for personally.”
As for Dobbs, Gruden said he’s an intriguing prospect.
“I would love to get my hands on him,’’ Gruden said. “He, to me, is a great sleeper in this draft.”
Gruden, a Super Bowl-winning coach with the Buccaneers, spent time with Mariota during his annual quarterback camp leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. Gruden also spent time with Dobbs during the QB Camp this year.
In his second NFL season, Mariota completed 276-of-451 passes for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 95.6 passer in 2016 before suffering a fractured fibula in a Week 16 contest at Jacksonville. The quarterback added 60 rushing attempts for 349 yards and two touchdowns. Mariota’s 2015 season was cut short because of a knee injury.
Mariota would’ve played in the Pro Bowl this past season if he hadn’t suffered the injury.
“He played in an offense where there wasn’t a lot of pure drop-backs,’’ Gruden said of Dobbs. “He was a running quarterback and he has over 400 attempts rushing. He ran for over 2,000 yards in the SEC. But if you watch the second half of the Florida game, watch the Nebraska game in the bowl game, you see passing ability. I think he … stood out at the Senior Bowl as a guy who could make a quick transition.
“This kid is smart, he loves it, and he’ll be a quick study. And his athleticism is going to be hard to keep off the field. This guy has the heart of a champion. I really like Dobbs a lot, and hopefully somebody with a real creative mind gets him.”