If there’s one player on the Green Bay Packers roster who is worth every cent he earns, it has to be Randall Cobb, the 2011 second round pick who is entering the third year of an already highly productive career.
At $802,000-plus change, Cobb is one of those few players across the NFL who seems poised for huge days ahead on the field and even bigger days at the bank. But for now, he’s the player on the Packers roster who has been doing it all and being looked toward for even more. He’s also the player that Ted Thompson must have targeted for a contract extension before he hits free agency in 2015.
What has Cobb brought to the team the past couple of seasons? Everything from special teams to becoming the team’s leader in pass receptions in just his second season. In 2011, he caught 25 passes for 375 yards and then turned that around in 2012 by catching 80 passes for 954 yards, all the while continuing to return kicks and punts.
Heck, in 2012, he turned in a total of 2,342 total yards, leading the league in that category – in two years, he’s accumulated 3,958 total yards. He’s also caught the attention of all-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “I think he can be a 100-catch guy,” Rodgers said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We haven’t had that here in awhile, but I think he can. He’s a special player. As long as he can stay healthy, I think he’s going to be a big-time star for us.”
When you’ve got the attention of your quarterback, that’s a pretty good thing and when that quarterback is Rodgers, well, it can’t get any better than that. If Rodgers thinks Cobb can be a 100-catch guy, you can believe that he’s going to do all he can to make sure it happens.
And what will make it possible? Yup, the running game. If the Packers can commit to a solid run game that takes over and helps the Packers hold leads and run out the clock, you can believe that teams will finally start respecting the run potential, thus opening lanes for the passing game. The Packers will continue to use Cobb in a variety of packages designed to get the ball into his hands and they will go to him early and often.
Even more importantly, if the Packers can find a replacement for Cobb on the kick and punt teams, his production will only increase. Rodgers is most likely onto something when he thinks Cobb can be a 100-catch guy. With receivers like Jordy Nelson and James Jones also on the field drawing the attention of the defense, you know Cobb is going to explode in production.
So, just how much better can Cobb get? If he’s focused on the 100-catch milestone, it’s probably not out of the realm of possibilities that he could eclipse the 112-catch season that Sterling Sharpe set way back when. If he does eclipse the 100-catch milestone, it will be the first time since 1995 when Robert Brooks caught 102 that any Packers receiver has gone over the century mark.
But with the special skills possessed by Cobb, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him become just the third Packers receiver to go over 100 catches in a single season.
If he does, Ted Thompson better get his checkbook ready.
Here are Cobb’s statistics …