Apart from the loss of Aaron Rodgers to his collarbone fracture, the leg injury suffered by Randall Cobb was the most detrimental event for the Green Bay Packers‘ offense in 2013. With the departure of James Jones earlier in the offseason, Cobb’s usefulness has gone through the roof.
Cobb got his start back in 2011 after being drafted in the second round. In his first year he saw some time on the field mostly returning punts and kickoffs along with a total of 25 receptions for 375 yards. This is not a bad showing for a rookie, but his stats were far more impressive the next year. In 2012, he led the league in all-purpose yards with 954 receiving, 132 rushing, 292 punt return yards and 964 kickoff return yards. This is a total of 2,342 yards during the 2012 season, which ranks 22nd all time in terms of single season all-purpose yards records. In basic terms, these numbers indicate that Cobb is an amazing athlete. But the bare numbers don’t answer how much he can produce in the upcoming year.
In 2014, Cobb will be a far more important wide receiver than he has been in the past and will therefore most likely not be put on return duty. Coach Mike McCarthy has already indicated that the equally fast and elusive DuJuan Harris may be the ideal candidate for such a job. This will allow Cobb to focus all of his training and practicing energy on receiving. Last year, he played six games. In those six games he was averaging just over five receptions with roughly 72 yards per game. If he kept such numbers up for an entire 16-game season, the extrapolated math leads to a total of around 1,150 yards receiving. Given his increased importance this year, it is safe to expect Cobb to be thrown to significantly more this year, which will increase his production considerably.
With regard to Cobb himself, injury should not be a problem for him this year, and given his play later in the 2013 campaign, he is the same receiver as he was prior to that injury. His speed is excellent, as are his hands and overall football knowledge. His route running was once criticized for being raw and inconsistent, but that was not the Cobb that the Packers have seen in the past two years. In short, he has the natural ability to be an elite slot receiver, and the 2014 season presents an amazing opportunity for him. It can be said with near-absolute certainty that if Cobb stays healthy this season, which is likely, he and Jordy Nelson stand to be among the most productive wide receiver duo in the NFL.