We have entered the quietest parts of the NFL offseason. Free agency and the draft are behind us, while minicamp and training camp won't start until next week and late July, respectively.
However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop. After all, by late August, each team has to start making its roster cuts. Until then, players have to secure their spots on the team; they need to do their jobs (well) or someone else will.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots on the 2016 New England Patriots. Today, we'll take a look at wide receiver Aaron Dobson.
Name: Aaron Dobson
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 17
Size: 6'3, 205 lbs.
2015 review: As has been the case in 2014, Aaron Dobson's 2015 season was marked by injuries and inconsistencies. Despite starting the season relatively well – his week 2 performance against the Buffalo Bills (7 catches, 87 yards) was one of the best of his three-year career – Dobson was unable to build on his early momentum.
Following week 2, the former second-round draft pick caught only five more passes. He was placed on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain in the Patriots' week 11 victory over the Bills. Overall, Dobson finished the year with just 13 catches for 141 yards, while playing 18.8% of his team's offensive snaps. Far better than his 2014 season, but still disappointing.
2016 preview: Last offseason, Dobson found himself on the roster bubble. He managed to make it through final cuts because of a solid training camp and preseason, but after a mostly forgettable 2015 campaign is back on the bubble one year later.
Will he survive this time? The chances do not look good, given the Patriots' current wide receiver depth. After all, the soon-to-be 25-year old will have to fight for playing time against four offseason additions – Chris Hogan, Nate Washington and rookies Malcolm Mitchell and Devin Lucien – who all project to play similar roles within New England's offense.
Dobson, who offers little to nothing on special teams, really needs to stand out as a receiving option over the course of the summer to win the battle against the aforementioned players. If he performs like he did early in 2015, his chances of making the team naturally increase. However, if he remains inconsistent or doesn't improve, then Dobson making the roster should be considered a huge surprise.
When he was drafted in 2013, Aaron Dobson was supposed to become New England's latest big-play wide receiver. Unless he is able to rekindle some of the chemistry that he has built with Tom Brady during his rookie campaign, Dobson might have played his last down in Foxboro.