Following along with the twitter training camp reports from Packers beat writers, one name seems to be popping up (pun intended) everywhere: Randall Cobb.
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That pretty much covers everything an offensive skill player can do with the football. An impressive list, for sure.
Back in the early spring of 2011, with the Packers having just come off a Super Bowl XLV win in Dallas, there were three positions I considered to be “needs” for the Packers going forward. One was offensive tackle (In came Derek Sherrod, then cornerback (in came Davon House) and my final need was an all-purpose WR/KR. I had grown so tired of the Packers’ futility in the return game, but beyond that, I felt the Packers offense could be fairly unstoppable with the addition of a different type of wide receiver to their group.
What if the Packers offense had a smaller, quick, shifty receiver with the ability to make defensive backs miss after the catch? A guy you can use on quick wide receiver screens that can make something out of nothing. A guy that could be used for the occasional end-around. Why not present your opponents with another dimension they’ll need to prepare for? A Percy Harvin-type player, for example.
In my draft research that year, I had narrowed down my WR/KR “wish list” to 2 players; Jerrel Jernigan and Randall Cobb. In all honesty, I preferred Jernigan. Watching tape of these two players, Jernigan looked like the faster and more dynamic of the two. But I would have been pleased if the Packers drafted either one.
When the Packers selected Cobb, I was a happy man, but I could never have envisioned what we are seeing now. While Jernigan has struggled to see the field in any capacity for the NY Giants, Cobb was an immediate contributor and as listed above, is being looked at in a myriad of ways to help the Packers in 2012.
While that sounds great to fans like us, there are plusses and minuses to using one player in so many ways. Cobb, was asked by JSOnline.com’s Ty Dunne if he wishes he could focus on one job and master it; “You do,” Cobb said, “but at the same time there are pros and cons to it. I mean, focusing in on one thing, I wouldn’t be able to show talents in other areas. But showing talents and being very versatile, you can’t master one thing. So it’s all about trying to build that talent and that skill through all the different things all together.”
While Cobb might prefer to have fewer roles to focus on, there is certainly no way he’ll turn down any opportunities he’s given to be involved. Whatever the Packers coaches ask of him, he will do. None of it may be perfect, but whatever he does, it promises to be exciting. If given the opportunities, this could turn out to be the breakout year for rising star Randall Cobb.