Back in 2014, Randall Cobb played his fourth season in the NFL. That year, the wide receiver had a career year with the Green Bay Packers. This was following a 2013 season that was cut short for the explosive receiver thanks to a fractured fibula.
His breakout 2014 saw Cobb haul in 91 receptions for 1287 yards, including 12 touchdowns. This included five games with over 100 yards receiving. It was a year of big results and one that led to even bigger expectations.
Unfortunately for the former University of Kentucky footballer, 2015 was a bit of a letdown. Despite being targeted two more times than the season before (mainly because of the injury to Jordy Nelson), his receptions dropped by double digits. His yardage went down by over 400 yards. And his touchdown total was cut in half.
Despite the down season, he entered the offseason as one of the hotter names on the free agent market. While wide receiver needy teams, such as the Oakland Raiders, reportedly offered more money, Cobb agreed to a four-year pact for $40 million ($17 million guaranteed) to return to the Green Bay Packers.
However, the results on the field this past season did not leave the Pack and their fans feeling too good about the deal. His numbers continued to move in the wrong direction, with injuries once again creeping up on Cobb.
When all was said and done, Cobb played in 13 games last year. His 60 receptions were the lowest total he recorded since that injury shortened 2013 season. That is the same for his 610 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, and 84 targets.
His long catches were also reduced as well. His average reception distance was down to 10.2, the lowest of his six-year stint in the yellow and green. He recorded only one reception over 40 yards, and only having one game with over 100 or more receiving yards (week five against the New York Giants).
Davante Adams has virtually taken over the number two spot from him on the depth chart. The team has shown the willingness to move Jordy Nelson inside more, which is where Cobb is at his best. The team has a ton of depth at the position, with plenty of youngsters chomping at the bit to get into games. As a result, Cobb is facing a make or break season.
By the time the Green Bay Packers take the field on September 10th against the Seattle Seahawks in week one from Lambeau Field, Cobb will 27. Entering the second year of his four year deal, this season could be Cobb’s last chance to prove himself for the NFC North champs.
Young players like DeAngelo Yancey, a rookie from Purdue, and Malachi Dupre, a rookie from LSU, are both talented youngsters who could threaten for playing time this season. If Randall Cobb starts the season slowly, do not be surprised if one of these two names starts lining up on the outside.
If either of those men produces expect to see, Jordy become more and more comfortable in that slot role. Jordy is more than comfortable playing in there, which is bad news for Cobb. Cobb has proven he is mainly a slot receiver and not a go to receiver outside. So if one of the young guys allow for Jordy to make that shift in, it is Cobb that suffers.
So, Randall Cobb better got off to a fast start this season. A strong training camp will go a long way for the veteran. But at the end of the day, it will be the regular season production that the team, and their fans, will be looking for.
Editor’s Note: This article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.