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Chuck Landon: Dobson has date with NFL clockers

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Aaron Dobson watched.

That's all, he watched.

While former West Virginia University standout Tavon Austin posted a blistering 40 time of 4.34 seconds at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Marshall's star wide receiver merely watched.

Then, when another former star Mountaineer wideout, Stedman Bailey, ran an unimpressive 4.52 40, Dobson still was watching.

Would he have relished the opportunity to match Austin's time?

Positively.

Was Dobson aching to prove how much faster he is than Bailey?

Absolutely.

The problem is the aching in Dobson's right hamstring meant he couldn't compete against the former WVU stars or any of the wide receivers during running drills at the NFL Combine.

Dobson still attended the four-day workout in Indianapolis, of course, participating in all the interviews and taking the controversial Wonderlic test.

But he couldn't show his speed.

And for a wide receiver hoping to go early in the second round of the NFL Draft, that's crucial.

Dobson didn't have any choice, however, after injuring his right hamstring about two weeks ago while running 40s at top speed during workouts at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Was he disappointed?

Of course.

Particularly since he was the only Marshall player invited to the NFL Combine.

"I'm definitely disappointed to go to the combine and not be able to do everything," Dobson told one media outlet. "I wanted to go there and compete and showcase myself and Marshall."

The good news is Dobson will get another chance to showcase his speed, which has been clocked as low as 4.3 seconds by Marshall staff members.

That will happen at Marshall's "Pro Day" on March 13 at Edwards Stadium. There will be plenty of pro scouts there with stop watches to chronicle every last second of Dobson's speed. And as long as he runs in the low 4.4s, Dobson's draft stock will remain high.

Just ask ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.

"Studied 4 tapes today," wrote McShay on his Twitter.com account. "I'm now sold on Dobson. Solid NFL starter. Size, sudden, great hands. Feel great about him in 2nd rd!"

But he has to run on Marshall's "Pro Day."

That is essential since Dobson wasn't able to run at the NFL Combine. And, yes, he vows to do exactly that, but with a caveat.

"I fully intend to do Pro Day there," Dobson was quoted, "but it's going to come down to what the doctors think I can do. I'd like to be able to show my stuff one more time there. It would mean a lot to me."

It also would mean a lot to his NFL Draft stock. Nobody knows that better than Isaac Conner and John "Thunder" Thornton. Conner represents Dobson for Allegiant Athletic Agency, based in Knoxville, Tenn.

As for Thornton, if that name rings a bell among area WVU fans, it's because it should.

Thornton was a standout defensive tackle for the Mountaineers in the late 1990s. He was selected in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft by Tennessee and played four years for the Titans. Then, Thornton played six years for Cincinnati before retiring.

He still resides in Cincinnati, working for JockBiz and is an adviser to Dobson.

Conner and Thornton know it is crucial for Dobson to be healthy and run well on March 13.

The time for watching is over.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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