Josh Dobbs completes six-pack of Vols drafted in first four rounds

Josh Dobbs completes six-pack of Vols drafted in first four rounds

April 30th, 2017 by David Cobb in Sports - College

Joshua Dobbs (14) is the starting quarterback for the Vols. The University of Tennessee Orange/White Spring Football Game was held at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on April 16, 2016.

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

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Josh Dobbs kept his cellphone close by all weekend as he tried to relax with a small group of family and friends at his home in Alpharetta, Ga., during the NFL draft.

"You sit there and you're just staring at your phone until it rings," he said Saturday. "Any-time someone texts you, you're kind of on edge."

Dobbs saw five former Tennessee teammates selected over the course of three days, and then, finally, his number was called. Literally.

The former UT quarterback looked down at a buzzing phone to see a number calling with a Pittsburgh area code early Saturday afternoon. The voice on the other end belonged to a representative of the Steelers, who informed Dobbs that the franchise was selecting him with the 29th pick of the draft's fourth round.

"It's a tremendous opportunity," Dobbs said. "My goal is to go in there, learn, compete, be the best Josh Dobbs I can be and be ready to go when my name is called."

No Tennessee quarterback has been selected higher since Peyton Manning in 1998, and Dobbs' selection etched this year's Tennessee draft class in the record books.

It's the first time since 2002 that six former Volunteers have been drafted in the first four rounds.

"I'd be remiss if i didn't take the moment to reflect," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "It's been a great weekend for Tennessee football and all our players. They've done a great job of representing their personal brand and the brand of Tennesseee."

Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Josh Malone joined Dobbs as fourth-round selections.

The Detroit Lions took Reeves-Maybin, a linebacker, with the 18th pick of the round, and the Cincinnati Bengals selected Malone, a wide receiver, with the round's 22nd pick.

Dobbs will reunite with four-year Tennessee teammate Cameron Sutton in Pittsburgh. The Steelers selected cornerback Sutton with the 30th pick of Friday night's third round.

The two have had a relationship since fourth grade when they played youth football against each other, Dobbs said.

"We were roommates as freshmen," Dobbs said. "We had a chance to grow and learn and become leaders in the program together. We've been great friends over the past four years."

Dobbs will learn under veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh and become teammates with Antonio Brown, one of the NFL's most prolific receivers. Brown played for Jones at Central Michigan.

"It will be great to meet the man that Coach Jones has been hyping," Dobbs said. "But, of course, his play speaks for itself."

The Eagles took defensive end Derek Barnett with the 14th overall selection, and the New Orleans Saints took running back Alvin Kamara with the third pick of the third round Friday.

In 2002, Tennessee players John Henderson, Donte Stallworth, Albert Haynesworth, Fred Weary, Will Overstreet and Travis Stephens were selected before the fifth round. The Vols had 10 players selected that year in total.

Though Tennessee could have other players from this year's graduating class picked up as free agents, Dobbs was the last taken in the draft. It was the first time since 2014 that any Vols were selected and the first time since 2010 that six were drafted.

"We talked about them changing the course of Tennessee football," Jones said. "They've been able to do that, and we're thankful for them."

Contact David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com.