Joshua Dobbs

American football player (born 1995)

American football player
Joshua Dobbs
refer to caption
Dobbs with the Steelers in 2018
San Francisco 49ers
Position:Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1995-01-26) January 26, 1995 (age 29)
Alpharetta, Georgia, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school:Alpharetta
College:Tennessee (2013–2016)
NFL draft:2017 / Round: 4 / Pick: 135
Career history
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2017–2019)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2019)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2020–2021)
  • Cleveland Browns (2022)
  • Detroit Lions (2022)*
  • Tennessee Titans (2022)
  • Cleveland Browns (2023)*
  • Arizona Cardinals (2023)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2023)
  • San Francisco 49ers (2024–present)
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2023
Passing attempts:502
Passing completions:312
Completion percentage:62.2%
TDINT:15–13
Passing yards:2,920
Passer rating:77.3
Rushing yards:496
Rushing touchdowns:6
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Robert Joshua Dobbs (born January 26, 1995) is an American football quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Tennessee Volunteers, and was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft.

Early years

Dobbs was born and raised in Alpharetta, Georgia, the son of Stephanie and Robert Dobbs.[1] His mother retired from United Parcel Service (UPS) as a region manager in corporate human resources, and his father retired as a senior vice president for Wells Fargo.[2] Dobbs has alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease causing hair loss, which began when he was transitioning from elementary to junior high school.[2][3]

Dobbs started playing football when he was five years old.[4] He attended Wesleyan School and then Alpharetta High School. As a senior with the Alpharetta Raiders football team, he threw for 3,625 yards with 29 touchdowns. Dobbs was rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and a four-star by Scout.com.[1][5][6] He originally committed to Arizona State University to play college football, but in February 2013, he changed his commitment to the University of Tennessee.[7]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Joshua Dobbs
QB
Alpharetta, Georgia Alpharetta High School 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Feb 7, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247SportsN/A
Overall recruiting rankings:
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

  • "2013 Team Ranking". Rivals.com.

College career

2013 season

As a true freshman at the University of Tennessee in 2013, Dobbs played in five games with four starts after starter Justin Worley suffered an injury in a loss against the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant–Denny Stadium. Dobbs came into the game and completed 5 of 12 passes for 75 yards.[8][9] He made his first career start against the #10 Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field.[10] He completed 26 of 42 passes for 240 yards in the 31–3 loss, which was the most passing yards in a freshman debut since 2004 (Erik Ainge (118) and Brent Schaefer (123) against the UNLV Rebels).[11] After a 55–23 loss to the #7 Auburn Tigers[12] and a 14–10 loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores,[13] Dobbs put together a solid performance against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium. In the 27–14 victory, Dobbs threw his first two career touchdown passes and had a 40-yard rushing touchdown.[14] Overall, he completed 72 of 121 passes for 695 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions and also rushed for 189 yards and a touchdown in his true freshman season.[15]

2014 season

Dobbs competed with Worley (a senior) and Nathan Peterman (a sophomore), to be Tennessee's starter for the 2014 season.[16][17] Worley was announced the starter, but Dobbs took over as the starter in November after Worley was injured in a 34–3 loss to the #3 Ole Miss Rebels at Vaught–Hemingway Stadium.[18] Although Dobbs was not pushed into action immediately after the injury, in the following week against #4 Alabama Crimson Tide, Peterman was named the starter, but he was relieved quickly by Dobbs. Dobbs performed well in the 34–20 defeat by recording 192 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns against the Crimson Tide.[19][20] Against South Carolina, Dobbs had a breakout performance against the Gamecocks at Williams–Brice Stadium. In the 45–42 comeback win in overtime, Dobbs had 301 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 166 rushing yards, and three rushing touchdowns.[21][22] Against the Kentucky Wildcats at Neyland Stadium, Dobbs had 297 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 48 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown in the 50–16 victory.[23] Dobbs and team helped Tennessee reach their first bowl game since the 2010 season. Dobbs was named the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl MVP in Tennessee's 45–28 victory over Iowa. In the game, Dobbs passed for 129 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns.[24][25][26] Dobbs threw for 1,206 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions during his sophomore season. He finished the 2014 season with 469 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns in just six games. Dobbs received two Offensive Player of the Week honors from the Southeastern Conference (SEC), both of which came from his combined passing and rushing performances for over 400 yards in each game.[27]

2015 season

Dobbs entered the 2015 season as Tennessee's starting quarterback. He started and appeared in all 12 regular season games and the bowl game. To open Tennessee's season on September 5, Dobbs recorded 205 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 89 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown against the Bowling Green Falcons in a 59–30 win at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.[28] In a double overtime 31–24 loss to the #19 Oklahoma Sooners in the Tennessee 2015 home opener, Dobbs had 125 passing yards, one passing touchdown, 12 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown.[29] In a 28–27 loss to SEC East rival Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Dobbs had a season-high 136 rushing yards and had a 58-yard receiving touchdown thrown by teammate wide receiver Jauan Jennings on a trick play.[30][31] Dobbs's touchdown reception against Florida was the first reception by a Tennessee quarterback since Peyton Manning caught a 10-yard pass from running back Jamal Lewis in 1997 against Arkansas.[32] Against the rival #19 Georgia Bulldogs, Dobbs had a season-high 312 yards passing and three touchdowns to go along with 118 rushing yards and two touchdowns.[33][34] His efforts in the game led Tennessee to their first win over the Bulldogs since 2009. Against the #8 Alabama Crimson Tide in their annual rivalry game, Dobbs had 171 yards passing and one passing touchdown in the narrow 19–14 loss at Bryant–Denny Stadium.[35] Against rival South Carolina, Dobbs passed for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the 27–24 home victory.[36] Dobbs led Tennessee to a 9–4 record, which was the most wins for the Tennessee program since 2007.[37] The 2015 season culminated with a 45–6 victory over the #12 Northwestern Wildcats in the 2016 Outback Bowl. In the bowl game, Dobbs had two rushing touchdowns.[38]

2016 season

Dobbs entered the 2016 season as Tennessee's starting quarterback in his final season of collegiate eligibility. He started and appeared in all 12 regular season games and the bowl game. Dobbs started the season with a solid performance in a home game against Appalachian State.[39] In the 20–13 overtime win, Dobbs had 192 yards passing but fumbled on the goal line; the ball was recovered by teammate and running back Jalen Hurd to give Tennessee the go-ahead score. In the 2016 Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol, Dobbs threw three passing touchdowns to go along with two rushing touchdowns.[40] In a 38–28 comeback victory over the #19 Florida Gators, Dobbs had 319 yards passing, four passing touchdowns, 80 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown to lead the Volunteers to their first win over the Gators since 2004.[41] Against #25 Georgia, Dobbs had 230 yards passing, three passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown to win 34–31.[42] Dobbs's last touchdown was a Hail Mary throw to wide receiver Jauan Jennings as time expired. The winning play is referenced by many as the "Dobbs-Nail Boot".[43] With the victory, Tennessee was 5–0 with Dobbs as quarterback and ranked as high as top 10 in some polls. In a double overtime 45–38 loss to the #8 Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field, Dobbs had a season-high 398 passing yards and one passing touchdown. In addition, he caught a receiving touchdown from Jauan Jennings, his second career receiving touchdown.[44] Dobbs continued solid performances over the rest of the season: he had five touchdowns, 223 passing yards and 190 rushing yards in a 63–37 win over Missouri and 340 passing yards in a 45–34 loss against Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Stadium.[45][46] Despite his play, Tennessee faded from their 5–0 start to finish 8–4.[47]

In the final game of his Tennessee career, Dobbs led the Volunteers past the #24 Nebraska Cornhuskers by a score of 38–28 in the 2016 Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. He had 291 passing yards, one passing touchdown, 11 rushes for 118 yards, and three rushing touchdowns. Dobbs was named the MVP of the game.[48]

Dobbs led Tennessee to a second consecutive 9–4 record. Tennessee's 18 wins with Dobbs at the helm were the most for the school over a two-year span since 2006–2007.[49]

Dobbs majored in aerospace engineering during his time at the University of Tennessee.[3] The university presented him with the 2017 Torchbearer Award, the highest honor for an undergraduate student, which recognizes accomplishments in the community and academics. Dobbs was heralded as possessing a perfect 4.0 grade point average and being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.[50]

Dobbs was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa at Tennessee in 2016.[51]

College statistics

Season Games Passing Rushing
GP Record Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Att Yds Avg TD
Tennessee Volunteers
2013 5 1–4 72 121 59.5 695 5.7 2 6 38 189 5.0 1
2014 6 3–3 112 177 63.3 1,206 6.8 9 6 104 469 4.5 8
2015 13 9–4 205 344 59.6 2,291 6.7 15 5 146 671 4.6 12
2016 13 9–4 225 357 63.0 2,946 8.3 27 12 150 831 5.5 13
Career 37 22–15 614 999 61.5 7,138 7.1 53 29 438 2,160 4.9 34

Professional career

Pre-draft

Dobbs received an invitation to the Senior Bowl and was named the starting quarterback for the South. He finished the game completing 12-of-15 pass attempts for 102 passing yards and an interception, as the South defeated the North 16–15.[52] The majority of NFL draft experts and analysts projected him to be a fourth to fifth round pick. NFL analyst Mike Mayock projected him to be selected in the second round and NFL.com projected him to be drafted in the third round.[53] After attending the NFL Scouting Combine, he was ranked the seventh best quarterback in the draft by ESPN, the ninth best quarterback by Sports Illustrated, and NFLDraftScout.com ranked him the eighth best quarterback in the draft.[54][55][56] He attended Tennessee's Pro Day and scripted his own set of plays; 19 other teammates also participated in Tennessee's Pro Day. He held workouts for six teams: the Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New Orleans Saints.[57][58][59][60]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Wonderlic
6 ft 3+38 in
(1.91 m)
216 lb
(98 kg)
32+58 in
(0.83 m)
9+14 in
(0.23 m)
4.64 s 1.56 s 2.69 s 4.31 s 6.75 s 33 in
(0.84 m)
10 ft 2 in
(3.10 m)
29[61]
All values from 2017 NFL Combine.[62][63][64]

Pittsburgh Steelers (first stint)

The Steelers selected Dobbs in the fourth round (135th overall) of the 2017 NFL draft.[65] He was the seventh quarterback selected, and the Steelers also drafted his former Tennessee and Senior Bowl teammate, cornerback Cameron Sutton.[66] He replaced Zach Mettenberger following the draft.[67] On May 22, 2017, the Steelers signed Dobbs to a four-year, $2.95 million contract with a signing bonus of $554,295.[68] He was named the starter for the Steelers' pre-season opener against the New York Giants.[69] After two starts and four appearances during the pre-season, Dobbs spent his entire rookie season behind incumbent starter Ben Roethlisberger and long-term backup Landry Jones.[70][71][72]

Dobbs made his NFL regular season debut on October 7, 2018, in a 41–17 Steelers win against the Atlanta Falcons, as on the final play of the game, he kneeled down.[73] On November 4, 2018, in a 23–16 Steelers Week 9 victory against the Baltimore Ravens, Dobbs completed a 22-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, after stepping in for Ben Roethlisberger, who got injured on the previous play.[74][75] In Week 14, against the Oakland Raiders, Dobbs once again stepped in for Roethlisberger, who suffered a rib injury. He finished 4-of-9 for 24 yards and one interception in the 24–21 loss.[76] Overall, in the 2018 season, he appeared in five games and went 6-of-12 for 43 yards and one interception.[77]

Jacksonville Jaguars

On September 9, 2019, Dobbs was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft.[78] Dobbs was traded after Mason Rudolph won the backup job for the Steelers, and Jaguars' quarterback Nick Foles sustained a broken clavicle during the season opener and was subsequently placed on injured reserve.

While in Jacksonville, Dobbs participated in an internship at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.[79]

On September 5, 2020, Dobbs was waived by the Jaguars.[80]

Pittsburgh Steelers (second stint)

Dobbs in 2020

On September 6, 2020, Dobbs was claimed off waivers by the Steelers, his former team.[81] He re-signed with the Steelers on a one-year contract on April 19, 2021.[82]

On August 31, 2021, Dobbs was placed on injured reserve.[83]

Cleveland Browns (first stint)

On April 9, 2022, Dobbs signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.[84] He was waived on November 28, 2022, after Deshaun Watson returned from suspension.[85]

Detroit Lions

On December 5, 2022, Dobbs was signed to the practice squad of the Detroit Lions.[86]

Tennessee Titans

On December 21, 2022, Dobbs was signed by the Titans off the Lions practice squad.[87]

On December 29, with Ryan Tannehill out for the season with an injury and rookie Malik Willis underperforming, Dobbs was named the starter for the Titans Week 17 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.[88][89][90] In his first NFL start, Dobbs completed 20-of-39 passes for 232 yards, his first career touchdown pass,[91] and an interception in the 27–13 loss.[92]

On January 2, head coach Mike Vrabel announced that Dobbs would start the Week 18 matchup against the Jaguars.[93] Needing a win to clinch the division, Dobbs completed 20-of-29 passes for 179 yards to go with a touchdown and an interception. Despite leading for most of the game, Dobbs was sacked from behind by Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins and fumbled the ball, with the Jaguars returning it 37 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with under three minutes to go. The Titans lost 20–16, ultimately costing them a playoff spot.[94]

Cleveland Browns (second stint)

Dobbs (15) in 2023

On March 23, 2023, Dobbs signed with the Browns.[95]

Arizona Cardinals

During the 2023 preseason, on August 24, Dobbs was traded to the Arizona Cardinals along with a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft, in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2024 Draft.[96] Dobbs entered the 2023 NFL season as the starting quarterback for the Cardinals, as Kyler Murray started the season on injured reserve.[97]

On September 24, Dobbs led the Cardinals to their first win of the season in an upset over the Cowboys 28–16. At the time, the Cowboys were undefeated at 2–0.[98] This would be Cardinals' only win with Dobbs as starter, going 1–7 through eight games before being traded to the Vikings. He finished his tenure as the Cardinals’ quarterback with 1,569 passing yards, eight passing touchdowns, and five interceptions, as well as 258 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.[99]

Minnesota Vikings

After the Minnesota Vikings suffered a season-ending Achilles injury to starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Cardinals traded Dobbs, along with a conditional seventh-round pick, to the Vikings in exchange for a sixth-round pick on October 31.[100][101]

On November 5 against the Falcons, Dobbs entered the game after new starting quarterback Jaren Hall left the game with a concussion. The former had not taken a single practice repetition for the Vikings, and had to rehearse his cadence with the team's offensive linemen during the game.[102][103][104] Dobbs threw for 158 yards and scored three total touchdowns in a 31–28 come-from-behind victory.[105] He became the first quarterback in NFL history to record three touchdowns in consecutive games while playing for different teams.[106]

After losses to the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears, Dobbs was benched in the second half of the Vikings' Week 14 game against the Las Vegas Raiders after completing 10-of-23 passes for 63 yards and scoring no points for Minnesota through three quarters. After backup quarterback Nick Mullens led the Vikings to a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, the team announced that Mullens would be the starter moving forward; Dobbs was relegated to backup.[107] He was later demoted to the third-string quarterback after head coach Kevin O'Connell announced that Jaren Hall would backup Mullens.[108]

San Francisco 49ers

On March 19, 2024, Dobbs signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers.[109]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
Year Team Games Passing Rushing Fumbles
GP GS Record Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A Lng TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2017 PIT DNP
2018 PIT 5 0 6 12 50.0 43 3.6 22 0 1 24.0 4 11 2.8 10 0 0 0
2019 JAX DNP
2020 PIT 1 0 4 5 80.0 2 0.4 3 0 0 79.2 2 20 10.0 13 0 0 0
2021 PIT DNP
2022 CLE DNP
TEN 2 2 0–2 40 68 58.8 411 6.0 39 2 2 73.8 8 44 5.5 11 0 4 2
2023 ARI 8 8 1–7 167 266 62.8 1,569 5.9 69 8 5 81.2 47 258 5.5 44 3 8 4
MIN 5 4 2–2 95 151 62.9 895 5.9 29 5 5 76.4 30 163 5.4 22 3 6 3
Career 21 14 3–11 312 502 62.2 2,920 5.8 69 15 13 77.3 91 496 5.5 44 6 18 9

Personal life

Dobbs is a Christian. He has spoken about the most important day in his life by saying, "That’s the day I got baptized and went public with the decision of shedding my old life and putting on the new and starting a relationship with Jesus Christ. The day will come that I won't be a part of any football team. But the decision I made during my sophomore year in high school — to be a part of Team Jesus — I'll be a part of that team for the rest of my life, and for all eternity."[110]

Dobbs is the founder of the ASTROrdinary Dobbs Foundation.[111][112]

Dobbs is an advocate for awareness about alopecia, a hair loss condition that personally affects him.[113]

Dobbs' cousin, Parker Washington, is a wide receiver for the Jaguars.[114]

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