Being hard to tackle is a great trait for an NFL running back. A similar resilience in temperament is just as useful in trying to shape a career in pro football.
Former Eastern Kentucky University running back Dy’Shawn Mobley possesses both of those qualities and plans to use them as he attempts to make an NFL roster. “Whatever comes my way, I’m going to keep driving no matter what,” Mobley said during the Cincinnati Bengals’ offseason training activity at Paul Brown Stadium this week.
Always full of potential, Mobley first turned heads among NFL personnel when he played for Kentucky. The running back suited up for the Wildcats fortwo years but didn’t show much until he faced Tennessee and Georgia to close the 2013 season. Mobley rushed for 235 yards in those two games and looked primed for a breakout season in the Southeastern Conference the following year.
However, after some disagreements with the Kentucky coaching staff, Mobley transferred to Eastern Kentucky where he could play immediately without sitting out for the FCS school.
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Once in the Ohio Valley Conference, Mobley quickly established himself as an NFL prospect. He earned 2014 OVC Offensive Player of the Year honors in his first season for the Colonels after racking up 1,491 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.
After working his way up NFL Draft boards in 2014, Mobley’s prospects slipped following a less productive senior season. A lingering hamstring injury limited Mobley to 347 yards and two touchdowns in 2015, but he continued working despite going undrafted.
As an undrafted free agent, Mobley was approached by several suitors before choosing the Bengals. Cincinnati’s staff, including running backs coach Kyle Caskey, did not watch Mobley play at EKU but heard good things about the running back while talking with people around the team, such as former Colonels teammate and Bengals tight end Matt Lengel.
1,491 Amount of yards Mobley rushed for in his first season with EKU in the Ohio Valley Conference. Mobley also tacked on 20 touchdowns for the season.
So far in training camps, Mobley has been the player EKU fans saw during his decorated junior season.
“We looked past the injury-plagued senior season because that’s unfortunate for him, but that’s not the type of player he is,” Caskey said. “So we were able to look past that and go off what we know he can do and that’s when we saw the potential in him so that’s why we have him here.”
Mobley has capitalized on his opportunity with the Bengals, showcasing his power running as a 5-foot-11, 220-pound back. In drills and scrimmages he’s run with the type of intensity Caskey likes to see.
We looked past the injury-plagued senior season because that’s unfortunate for him, but that’s not the type of player he is.
Kyle Caskey, Bengals running backs coach
“The way he works his workout, he’s come in with the right attitude. He’s taken a hold of the playbook,” Caskey said. “He’s really pushing forward with the mental side of it, and when he gets out here and he’s moving around, he’s a hard guy to bring down because he’s so big.”
The Bengals did not draft a running back this year and are bringing in only one other undrafted free agent at the position, but with the depth chart set with players such as Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, Rex Burkhead and Cedric Peerman, a practice-squad spot may be the only opportunity available.
Caskey pointed out that previous Bengals have worked their way up to major playing time from the practice squad, and Mobley knows this too.
“Whatever the team wants me to do to help win games, that’s what I’m going to do. Whatever they ask me for that’s what I’m going to do,” Mobley said. “I’m a high-confidence guy, I have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I look forward to making plays whenever my number is called.”
I’m a high-confidence guy, I have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I look forward to making plays whenever my number is called.
Dy’Shawn Mobley, Bengals running back
Whether Mobley’s first break is with the Bengals’ practice squad or somewhere else in the league, that attitude could carry him far.
“He’s the type of kid that’s going to do whatever it takes,” Caskey said. “He’ll do it as long as somebody will allow him to do it.”