Over the past season and a half, Randall Cobb has been having one heck of a career in the NFL.
With injuries to the Packers offense this season, Cobb has turned into Aaron Rogers favorite target this season.
“Anytime we get the ball in Cobb’s hands, it usually turns out good,” Rodgers said of the former Wildcat standout. “He’s a weapon for us.”
“Randall Cobb’s a playmaker,” Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after the Week 9 game. “That’s how we view him. Playmakers need the ball in their hands. He gives you great flexibility as far as where we can play him. He’s continuing to get better as a receiver, week in and week out. He played injured today, which definitely tells you a lot about him. Once again, we have to be smart with how many times we get the ball in his hands but we are making a conscious effort to do that.”
Rich Brooks was head coach of the Wildcats during Cobb’s first two seasons at Kentucky. Brooks called Cobb a special player. Wildcat fans, and certainly Packers fans, can agree with that statement.
“Randall is one of those special players that can score anytime he touches the ball,” Brooks told me. “He is even better off the field.”
“I’m not surprised to see Randall doing great things in Green Bay,” Kentucky Wildcats broadcaster Tom Leach told me. “A ‘winner’ is the best way to describe him, the kind of player that makes his team better. I’m guessing the Packers were thinking they were filling a need for a return man and they’ve discovered that they have a heckuva playmaker at receiver now as well. Yes, he’s short in stature, but he’s solidly built so I think he can take the hits and still thrive—plus he always seemed to do a good job of not taking many direct hits. I think Randall will be a starter in Green Bay for several years to come.”
“I definitely think Randall Cobb fell further than he should have on Draft Day and it looks like even more of a steal now,” Scott Wright, a draft analyst for DraftCountdown.com, said
In high school at Alcoa, Cobb was player that was focused enough on the game. His high school coach, Gary Rankin, told me that he’s a little bit surprised as to how well Cobb is doing in the NFL. I asked him about his overall thoughts on what the former Cat is doing in the league.
“Well, you’ve got to be a little bit surprised.,” Rankin said. “There were surprises through there. I knew he would play in college and I felt like it’s hard to be in high school and be like this guy could play in the NFL. No high school coach can tell you that, hardly.
“I thought that if we had one in a while and was focused enough, it was him. But for me to sit here and say that he’s going to Kentucky and start as a freshman, break all these records, and be a stand-out, established player in the SEC? That doesn’t happen many times.
“To go into the pros, run a kickoff 108 yards the first time you touch it—if some high school coach told you that, he would need to be drug-tested (Laughs). He surprised me with his early come out if that’s how you want to put it. I thought he had the ability to do all those things. There are a lot of kids that have the ability but a lot of people don’t have those other things. That’s basically what I told the Packers scouts when they called me that he was different than everybody else. That was my main theme of my whole talk, when I talked to the scouts, that Randall Cobb was different. I think he’s proved that.”
Packers radio analyst Larry McCarren has been more than impressed with what he has seen Cobb do on the field with the Packers.
“From day 1, it was easy to see the big play waiting to happen,” McCarren said. “It’s happened a lot. From his debut, when he returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass, he’s just got that magical ability to cut speed off, get open, catch the ball, and make people miss after the catch.
“As a return man…he certainly has it. Even more than that, for a new guy coming in, he has conducted himself as a veteran player that really gets it. He goes about his business in a professional way. He has since he got here. He’s just a very unusual and unique young man in a very positive sense.”
The sports media in Green Bay have been as impressed, too.
“Cobb has been terrific,” Bob McGinn, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel told me.
“Instant impact playmaker last season and you saw it not only in training camp, but his 108 yd kickoff return for a TD vs. the Saints in the season opener,” WFRV sports director Burke Griffin told me. “As a rookie, had to contend with the amount of depth the Packers had with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley. Tough group to get touches with when they were all healthy but as you can see with Jennings out this season, Cobb is reaping the benefits. Aaron Rodgers seems to be a big fan of his and he said that Cobb could go down as the best pick Ted Thompson ever makes…and that’s saying something considering TT’s first pick was?…Aaron Rodgers.
“With Jordy having hamstring issues, Cobb will see the football even more and he is not only an intelligent player, but has the burst and shiftiness that few players have. Definitely a rising star in the league in my opinion.”
“The Packers coaches told me last year they made a mistake in not getting Randall Cobb on the field more,” TMJ4 sports director Lance Allan told me. “Now you’re seeing why. I think with the lockout, the Packers thought he would be behind in learning the offense, but from playing QB in college and being a smart guy, he catches on really fast.
“The Packers wanted him to play the slot, which takes away snaps from Donald Driver…but it makes them more potent on offense.”
Drew Smith, the sports director for WLUK, has been fortunate enough to host a show that features a rotation of players such as Randall Cobb.
“Randall has been a quick study, and the Packers have been doing everything they can to get the ball in his hands as much as possible on offense,” Smith said. “Last year other wide receivers were ahead of him on the depth chart, but this year, with injuries and moving past guys like Donald Driver, he has gotten more and more snaps. Cobb has a natural quickness and fantastic hands- it seems just about every pass targeted to him is hauled in- drops are rare.
He’s still a very young man and young player, so will continue to get better, and make better decisions when looking at game situations. Today (October 28th) he had a 2nd and short in Jacksonville territory, but after catching a ball in the flat, danced around looking for the big play instead of securing the first down. Packers ended up coming away with no points on the drive. However, those lapses have been few. The Packers have been really scheming for him, kind of like the Saints do with Darren Sproles- out of the backfield, swing passes, crossing routes, deep routes, etc.”