By BJ Bennett
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin. Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page
Randall Cobb comes to Wisconsin as Kentucky's offensive duct tape for the past few seasons.
While A.J. Green and Julio Jones grabbed national headlines with their high selections in the 2011 NFL Draft, another former SEC star is in prime position to make an immediate impact at the next level. Kentucky's Randall Cobb, a bit undersized, was drafted with the last pick in the second round by the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
For Cobb, the fit is ideal. In addition to the fact that Green Bay stands as the team to beat in the NFL, the Packers run a pass-happy spread offense with All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the helm. Green Bay finished second in the NFC in with just over 257 yards passing per outing. Cobb's reliable hands (84 grabs in 2010) and ability to find seams in coverages will result in playmaking chances in the slot. Additionally the Packers ranked 26th in the league in kick returns and 22nd in punt returns a year ago. They did not score a touchdown via the return game, another area where Cobb can help. He had two career punt returns for score, one as a sophomore and one as a junior. He also was the team's holder
Cobb comes to Wisconsin as Kentucky's offensive duct tape for the past few seasons. In addition to catching 144 passes and 13 touchdowns, he rushed for 1,313 yards and 22 touchdowns and even added nearly 700 more yards passing and five throwing scores. He compiled these numbers in just three years in Lexington, totaling just under 2,400 all-purpose yards his junior season.
“We’re just fortunate. You talk about a player of his caliber, a guy who can kind of help you in a number of different ways, the way he’ll be able to contribute. We were fortunate to have a guy like that still around when we were ready to pick," receivers coach Edgar Bennett told Mike Spofford of Packers.com. “We love his versatility. He certainly has the ability to run after the catch. We always talk about ‘YAC,’ and that’s one of his strong suits. He stays on his feet, has tremendous balance and makes the most of his opportunities.”
Had measurements been taken with Cobb standing on his toes, in boots, the Tennessee-native would have been taken in the first round. Instead, his 5'10'' height dropped him down draft boards. In today's landscape of 6'3'' and 6'4'' receivers being the status quo, Cobb was, for lack of a better phrase, overlooked. While a slide that nearly took him to the third round may have frustrated the SEC's most versatile talent, the destination will prove to be worth the way.
Green Bay has a history of take advantage of the mis-evaluations of others. Of the team's two starting wide receivers, Greg Jennings was taken late in the second round as some were turned away by his 5'11'' frame. Donald Driver was drafted by the team in the 7th round in 1999. Rodgers famously fell from the potential number one overall pick in 2005 all of the way to 24th, where the Packers gladly obliged. Some felt his 6'2'' build didn't meet the professional prototype.
Cobb won't enter the NFL with the fanfare of his accomplished SEC brethren, but his new home and his new offense could prove quite the match. The scheme appears perfect for his skill set, not to mention the fact that many expect these Packers to repeat as Super Bowl champions this season.
“I had to wait a long time, but it’s great knowing I’m coming to Green Bay,” Cobb told Spofford. “God works in mysterious ways, puts us in position to succeed. I was fortunate to still be on the board when Green Bay was picking.”
Waiting, wondering was the hard part for Cobb. Playing, of course, comes natural. This offense will give him the opportunities, this franchise will give him the spotlight. With others having passed on him largely because of his size, Cobb, now donned in green and gold, is ready to standout.