Stephan Savoia/Associated PressPatriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson (17, left) is facing a make-or-break year in only his third season in the NFL.

New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson could do nothing but hobble off the field, holding his hamstring after running a go route against the Green Bay Packers. He missed most of training camp while recovering from foot surgery and spent most of the season as a healthy inactive while catching up. The hamstring injury sealed his fate.
He was placed on injured reserve that same week, and we didn’t see or hear from him again for the rest of the season.
Now, entering his third NFL season, Dobson is facing make-or-break circumstances. The Patriots did not wait on Dobson, not even for a minute, as they signed free-agent wide receiver Brandon LaFell to a three-year contract last year. LaFell, who is similar to Dobson in stature and skill set, immediately surpassed the young wide receiver on the depth chart.
It was LaFell, not Dobson, who was the linchpin for the Patriots offense as a boundary receiver in 2014.

Patriots WR draft picks under Bill Belichick
Player
Year
Round
Yrs. w/NE
Catches
Deion Branch
2002
2
6.5
328
David Givens
2002
7
4
158
Bethel Johnson
2003
2
3
30
P.K. Sam
2004
5
1
0
Chad Jackson
2006
2
2
13
Brandon Tate
2009
3
2
48
Julian Edelman
2009
7
6
266
Taylor Price
2010
3
2
3
Jeremy Ebert
2012
7
1
0
Aaron Dobson
2013
2
2
40
Josh Boyce
2013
4
2
0
Jeremy Gallon
2014
7
0
0
Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

Dobson’s struggles are nothing new to the Patriots. For a decade and a half, the Patriots have struggled to develop young talent at the wide receiver position. 
Sure, Dobson had a few moments in the sun as a rookie. He caught 22 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns in a five-game stretch midway through the 2013 season. But now, Dobson must prove that those moments in the sun can become a bright spot in the Patriots offense; that those moments can be more than just moments, but that he has the propensity to produce those moments on a consistent basis. 
He must prove it all while proving that he can do what he couldn’t do last year: stay healthy.
“I’m not even really trying to look back to last year,” Dobson said this spring. “It’s a new year, so I’m trying to do what I can to help the team this year.”
After the disappointment of Dobson’s second year, it’s easy to forget that he had one of the finest rookie seasons of any receiver that’s …Read More