Dynasty Draft Profile: David Cobb
April 21, 2015 | Rich Hribar
|21.6||71||229||31 5/8||9 3/8|
*Pro Day 40 Time
David Cobb is another one of the many backs that the B1G conference is sending into the NFL this season that is expected to be selected within the first four rounds in Chicago. He’s coming off of back to back impressive seasons in terms of production while being saddled inside of one of the least dynamic offenses in college football. Last season, Minnesota attempted just 254 passes all season, 121st in the country and passed for just 1,844 yards (also 121st) while completing just 50 percent of their passes (tied for 122nd). Teams knew Cobb was getting the football and he was getting it often. For the most part, it still didn’t matter in terms of aiding the defense in stopping him overall. Cobb accounted for 38.5 percent of the Minnesota offensive yards from scrimmage, the fourth highest percentage of all FBS backs in 2014.
He’s not overly exciting or creative with the football and it shows in his underlying production as he lacked the ability to consistently gain truly explosive yards. Just four of his career touchdowns came from 20 yards out or longer, tied with T.J. Yeldon for the fewest of the backs at the top of this class and in terms highlight yardage from Football Study Hall, Cobb ranked in the bottom half in percentage of runs that went for five or more yards and in the bottom five in percentage of yardage that were credited as explosive yards generated by himself.
|Player||Team||Rushes||Yards||Hlt Yds||5+YD Atts.||5+ %||Hlt%|
|Josh Robinson||Mississippi State||190||1203||534||85||44.7%||44.4%|
|Dee Hart||Colorado State||194||1275||594.4||85||43.8%||46.6%|
|Thomas Rawls||Central Michigan||210||1103||398.5||89||42.4%||36.1%|
|Jeremy Langford||Michigan State||276||1522||585.1||109||39.5%||38.4%|
|Mike Davis||South Carolina||199||982||322.8||78||39.2%||32.9%|
|Jay Ajayi||Boise State||347||1823||731.4||126||36.3%||40.1%|
|Karlos Williams||Florida State||151||689||227.3||53||35.1%||33.0%|
That’s not a death sentence on his future production, it’s just not a major part of Cobb’s game given his physical profile. He is an old fashioned, one speed runner built for between the tackle running. It is concerning that often he struggles to break tackles from much smaller defenders on the second level and perimeter, but he’s a rugged interior runner who isn’t going to make a wealth of defenders miss based on agility. It may not be what the crux of his game is centered on, but he is still capable of displaying short area burst and change of direction on occasion.
After impressing in the jumping drills at the combine, Cobb injured his quad running his 40-yard dash, unable to finish the rest of measurable testing. After healing, he held an individual pro day last week in which he posted pedestrian marks across the board in terms of straight line speed and agility. With those numbers in place, his two closest objective comparables in terms of physical profile and final season production give us these names.
Neither objective comparison is going to do wonders for shedding the potential “plodder” label all of the above material may be nudging us towards, but both Greene (two) and Johnson (four) each posted multiple top-20 scoring PPR seasons during their careers. The other edge that Cobb has over a player like Greene is he is a capable baseline receiver. He is able to contribute as a pass catcher if called upon and could potentially be a consistent 25 plus reception back at the next level if he is able to secure a true lead back workload in an NFL backfield.
While he can catch the football, it remains to be seen if he’ll actually be placed in situations to garner those types of snaps as he’s arguably the worst pass blocker in this class. For a back of his physical stature, that’s disappointing and in terms of Pro Football Focus’ charting, Cobb ranked as a bottom five back in pass protection last season and allowed the most pressures in all of the FBS from the running back spot.
I understand that this may read as a somewhat negative outlook overall on Cobb, but I believe that it is more sobering than just shooting a hole into his draft stock. Cobb may ultimately have a better pro career than the signs indicate today, but there’s also a good amount of evidence that a lot of the steam he has gained throughout the process is overvalued and could limited if saddled in a similar situation in the NFL. He may not be the most aesthetically pleasing runner, but he’s generally the type of player that coaches will like more than his scouting report since he has the size and downhill ability to be an early down back in an offense and has a nose for the end zone. Ideally you’d like to see him attached to a good passing game to maximize that early down viability as a rusher and short yardage ability while not allowing NFL defenses to focus on him like they did in college. In terms of fantasy stock, he’s still really affordable, going off of the board on average as the 22nd player overall per Dynasty League Football ADP. That’s after Mike Davis, a back I feel he’s all around better than and Duke Johnson, a back that I feel is highly likely to be typecast in the NFL and unlikely to be a major touchdown contributor. I believe he has a better fantasy outlook than those two players given what he does well and I wouldn’t mind anyone checking in on his price tag if it still holds a mid to late second round value or later, but not any higher than that.
It seems fitting that one of Cobb’s main objective comparables as a prospect was Shonn Greene and by selecting him with the 138th overall selection that could mean the end of Greene’s days in Tennessee (saving the Titans $3.4 million with his release). If and when that does happen, the next question will be can he keep Bishop Sankey -the 54th overall selection a season ago- surpassed on the depth chart as he was as a rookie? We know Cobb isn’t going to play in passing situations early on, but Sankey didn’t either as a rookie, receiving just two of his 170 touches on third downs all season as Dexter McCluster and Leon Washington served in that capacity. If Sankey can’t keep him at bay, he could lose his role in the offense altogether.
I do believe Sankey will get that initial opportunity based on investment, but Cobb is the kind of runner that won’t do much to damage an offense, even if he’s not generating explosive runs and that sustainability is usually highly regarded by coaching staffs. The Tians overall may have a lot of offensive struggles in 2015 if they are going to rely on so much youth contributing, but the wild card here is the selection of Marcus Mariota, who can have a major impact on a running game. We’ve seen backs attached to quarterbacks who are threats to run be fantasy assets recently, so whoever is carrying the ball in Tennessee has a shot to make an impact.
I’m still not ready to close the door on Sankey as quickly as most, but I also can’t sugarcoat anything he gave us on the field as a rookie. In fact, if I already own Sankey, I may grab Cobb to protect my high investment from a year ago. Cobb will be a popular late second round draft choice since he already has such a strong contingency in his corner already and that backing may even push him up a little higher. I have him as the RB10 post draft, but am cognizant that he can make a larger impact even if 2015 sees the Titan backfield share a lot of roles and snaps.
Early 2015 Projection: 101.3 ATT/425.3 YDS/3.0 TD 5.3 TGT/3.6 REC/24.6 YDS/.1 TD