There was talk that Cobb should be turned into a scat back, but I saw a potential 10-year starter at receiver. Here’s pre-draft evaluation.
Randall Cobb was my No.3 receiver in the 2011 draft class of options that included the likes of A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Torrey Smith, Leonard Hankerson, Titus Young, and Jonathan Baldwin. These were all players that many considered better than Cobb, but I only had Green and Jones ahead of this all-purpose football player.
Here’s my pre-draft profile on Cobb based on my play-by-play study of the former Kentuck quarterback. I also supply that sample of my research in .PDF form at the end of this excerpt:
If evaluating players purely from the standpoint of what they can do for a football team, Cobb is among the best in this class. He’s a fast, agile, and physical football player who makes a difference in every phase of the game where a player can handle the ball: running, receiving, special teams, and even passing. In this respect, Cobb reminds me of Hines Ward. I love how Cobb attacks defenders as a run blocker and I haven’t seen this kind of aggressive mindset since Santonio Holmes was doing it five years ago at Ohio State. It’s no coincidence the Steelers valued this Ward-like mindset from Holmes.
Because Cobb’s speed and acceleration rival Holmes, the Jets receiver is the standard to which I think Cobb can aspire. Although a raw route runner, he is comfortable catching the ball in tight coverage and high-traffic areas where many college players tend to lose concentration. And like A.J. Green, Cobb has “late hands,” on deep routes that makes him a dangerous receiver before he even steps foot into an NFL training camp.
After the catch is where Cobb shines. With few exceptions, he carries the ball under his sideline arm and he sets up defenders with his vision and array of moves that he uses with enough economy to always be running downhill. He also has incredible balance and toughness. Some teams might be toying with the idea of using Cobb as a runner, but he has too much talent to mine at receiver to turn a potential 10-year veteran into a 5-year change of pace back.
I believe Cobb will earn time as a return specialist and No.3-No.4 receiver right away. He’s a player teammates will love to compete with and opponents will respect for his tough, dynamic play. As he learns the craft of his position, I believe Cobb will become a productive NFL starter.
For analysis of skill players in this year’s draft class, download the 2014 Rookie Scouting Portfolio – available now. Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the 56-page Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2014 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 apiece.