He didn’t know it at the time, but when the Pittsburgh Steelers used their natural third-round draft pick on Tennessee cornerback Cameron Sutton, they added the first piece of a tandem of Volunteers who were equally responsible for the volunteer work of serving as team leaders, a role that, together, they embraced.
The other addition had to wait until the next afternoon when Pittsburgh used its fourth-round draft pick on Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Over the course of their joint careers over four years in Knoxville, they became the locus of that team’s identity on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Both natives of Georgia, Sutton and Dobbs actually first encountered one another on the football field, according to the quarterback, in the fourth grade. Dobbs’ team won once, as did Sutton’s.
Years later, they reunited in coming in to Knoxville, making the trip from Georgia to Tennessee. Neither were four-star recruits coming out of high school, and they had to earn their way, but it came eventually for both of them.
Sutton, for his part, became a starter immediately as a true freshman. Dobbs started some as a rookie, but lost a starting battle the following season, only to start late that year due to injury. He was the starter for the past two seasons.
Sutton obviously didn’t know that Dobbs would soon be joining him, but you can be sure that the latter was keeping track of where his friend went the day before, and that the cornerback was waiting to hear Dobbs’ name called in the draft. It wasn’t long after that that Sutton phoned over.
“That’s my guy”, Dobbs said of Sutton during his post-draft conference call. “We walked in freshman year of college. We are both from Georgia. We actually played fourth grade football against each other”, recalling the 1-1 draw in their series.
“We were roommates our freshman year. We created a great relationship”, Dobbs recalled. “We were able to become leaders at Tennessee, on and off the field. I saw him get drafted yesterday. I was so excited for him. I am definitely excited to come join him”.
There’s a good chance that Sutton will be looking forward to the opportunity of intercepting a pass from Dobbs again during the Steelers’ rookie minicamp, and that Dobbs will be aiming to burn Sutton for a touchdown. But most of all, they are looking forward to beginning their NFL journeys together, and beginning to forge a name for themselves within a storied franchise.
“It’s definitely very exciting to see a familiar face, a great teammate and a great friend and brother with me in Pittsburgh”, Dobbs said of coming into Pittsburgh with his teammate, roommate, and friend. They’re just rookies right now, but both of them exhibit intelligence and leadership qualities that should serve them well as far as their talent takes them in this game.