Fantasy Football 2020 NFL Draft Profile: J.K. Dobbins put up huge numbers, but will he play on third down?

If you’re concerned about Jonathan Taylor’s ball security or fear his lack of reps in the passing game, another Big 10 back may be your preference. J.K. Dobbins had a 2,000-yard season like Taylor in 2019, but he did it without all the fumbles. Dobbins skipped most of the workout events at the NFL Combine, so he doesn’t have the buzz coming out of the event that Taylor does, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t covet him on Draft Day.

Numbers to Know

Date of Birth: December 17, 1998

Height: 5-9 1/2

Weight: 209 pounds

Bench Press: 23 reps

Prospect Stats

2019: 14 games, 301 rush attempts, 2,003 rush yards, 6.7 YPC, 23 receptions, 247 receiving yards, 10.7 Y/R, 23 total TD

Dobbins’ final four games at Ohio State were against Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Clemson. In those four games alone he ran for 714 yards and eight touchdowns. 

Career: 42 games, 725 rush attempts, 4,459 rush yards, 6.2 YPC, 71 receptions, 645 receiving yards, 9.1 Y/R,  43 total TD

Dobbins had at least 22 receptions in each of his three seasons, so you should feel comfortable with his ability to function in the passing game, at least when he’s being targeted.

Known Injury History

  • High ankle sprain in January, 2020
  • Broken bone in right leg cost him his senior year in high school


Dobbins had 1,500 total yards as a 19-year-old freshman, so his breakout age is certainly a strength. His ball security and receiving ability obviously are as well. Dobbins displays good footwork on tape and was very good at setting up defenders behind his outstanding offensive line. He showed us in 2019 that he can handle a workhorse role as well.


While he can definitely catch the ball, nearly everyone agrees his pass protection is currently a weakness. In the NFL, that generally means you don’t play on third down. He’s not a big back and since he didn’t participate in much of the combine it’s easy to wonder how far he falls short of the other top backs in terms of athleticism and top-end speed.

Josh Edwards’ Take

No. 3 RB

Dobbins improved his stock as much as anyone by taking his game to the next level. He shows tremendous balance and good lateral quickness. The Texas native found a lot of success on stretch plays behind a zone-blocking scheme. He does a good job catching passes out of the backfield but is no more than average in pass protection. If he wants to stay on the field and be a three-down back, then he will need to improve that area in his game. 

Dobbins finished second on the Buckeyes’ all-time rushing list behind the great Archie Griffin; college football‘s sole two-time Heisman Trophy winner.

Fantasy Comparison

On the bright side, you’d hope that Dobbins could find his way into a feature role on first and second downs in year one as Josh Jacobs did. It’s not hard to see Dobbins having the same type of rookie season Jacobs did if he’s allowed that type of workload. Something like what David Montgomery gave us would seem close to the floor unless something goes terribly wrong. 

Favorite Fantasy Fits

Tampa Bay could be the perfect fit for Dobbins if he can make a leap as a pass blocker. At the very least, he’d have the opportunity to dominate early down work there. Dobbins would also fit great in Los Angeles with Austin Ekeler, and the way they use their backs in the passing game would leave plenty of room for Dobbins to rack up 30-plus catches even if Ekeler takes him off the field on third down. 

Fantasy Bottom Line

As long as he gets the work, Dobbins looks like a solid No. 2 running back at worst, with top-10 upside. If he’s a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, he’ll be a top-four rookie pick in Fantasy and a worth consideration as early as Round 4 in Redraft leageus. If he falls into the second round to a team like the Chargers with an established pass catcher, he’s more of a mid-draft Redraft pick and a mid-Round 1 rookie pick. We expect he’s someone Fantasy owners will plan on starting Week 1.

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