(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb.)
Name: Randall Cobb
Team:Green Bay Packers
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 5 seasons
2016 vs. Cowboys:
Cobb had a solid outing against Dallas in the Packers' 28-7 win last December, but it was honestly Green Bay's running game that did the heavy lifting. Cobb was the game's leading receiver, reeling in eight catches for 81 yards. That said, the typically pass-happy Packers finished with just 218 passing yards on the day. Instead, the duo of Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 195 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries – ultimately breaking the Cowboys' will in the fourth quarter.
What's the Deal:
During his five years in the league, Cobb has proven himself to be a dynamic and – most importantly – versatile playmaker for the Packers. He can line up outside or in the slot, and he's got a career average of 7.55 yards per carry on 40 career rushing attempts. Earlier in his career, Cobb was also an asset in the return game, as he averaged roughly 10 yards per punt return and 26 yards per kick return. All of that said, he struggled a bit to handle the role of a No. 1 receiver last year. Jordy Nelson missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL, and Cobb struggled – along with the rest of the Green Bay receiver corps – to replace that production. One year after a 91-catch, 1,287-yard season in 2014, Cobb dipped to 79 catches for 829 yards and just six scores. Cobb will no doubt be thrilled to have Nelson back in 2016 to help take the attention off himself – as will Aaron Rodgers.
Cobb has been at his best when he's free to function as the dangerous No. 2 option behind Nelson, and he should be free to return to that role in 2016. In only other game against the Cowboys – in the 2014 divisional playoffs – he tortured the Dallas secondary for 116 yards on eight receptions, including a game-sealing 12-yard catch on a crucial 3rd-and-12 with two minutes remaining. Nelson is expected back in the lineup this season, which should mean more single-coverage – and more opportunities for big plays – for Cobb.
The Cowboys have had a rough go of it against the Packers these past few years. Dallas is currently on a five-game losing streak to Green Bay, dating back to a 17-7 loss in 2009. During that stretch, the Packers have foiled the Cowboys in some pivotal games. Green Bay's 45-7 win in 2010 marked the end of Wade Phillips' tenure as head coach. The Packers also tied a record for the biggest comeback in their franchise's history when they recovered from a 26-3 halftime deficit to beat the Cowboys, 37-36, in 2013. Then, of course, there's the infamous 26-21 playoff game in 2014, which will be forever remembered for the overturned call of a Dez Bryant catch near the Green Bay goal line with just four minutes remaining. Cobb was out with an injury for that 2013 meeting, but he has played a prominent role in both of his career appearances against the Cowboys, totaling 16 catches for 197 yards in the 2014 and 2015 games.
Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:
- Firstly, Cobb plays smart. A competitor with good athletic ability. A slot type receiver who can cause mismatches with his quickness and finish speed.
- Will line up all over the formation. Good contact balance. Good run after catch ability. Functional strength. Gets separation. Dangerous in space. Knows how to get to the sticks. Plays with awareness. Good concentration to catch the ball in traffic.[embeddedad0]
- Can beat the first tackler on a regular basis. Catches the ball out away from his body. Will go high to snatch the ball. Not afraid to lay out for the ball. Will make the low plays inside. Can adjust to the ball behind him but there are some snaps where he has concentration drops.
- Good effort on every play. Natural running skills when he has his hands on the ball. A good route runner who is smooth with a burst out of his turns. Drops his weight. Good change of direction qualities. Can control his body in the air. Good stick and stay blocking effort.
- Took some heat when Jordy Nelson went down and many felt he wasn't doing his part but if you study his games, he still is a player that has to be accounted for each snap.
The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.