The Senior Bowl week featured one of the Big Ten’s prolific 2014 running backs in Minnesota’s David Cobb. He seemed to take each practice in Mobile as a learning experience and remained consistent regardless of game or practice throughout the week. After reviewing six of his college games against Missouri (bowl game), Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan, San José State, and UNLV, I believe that he will be a quality rusher at the next level who could help your dynasty fantasy team.
RB David Cobb, Minnesota, 5″ 11″ 229 lbs.
Cons: As with many Big Ten backs who play in run-first offenses, Cobb is not a skilled pass blocker. He lowered his head too much trying to block and did not always see or take a good angle to be effective cut blocking. The back will need to lower his hips and step into the defender striking them first, instead of being a catcher’s mitt. There were a few concerning plays where Cobb tried to extend the ball while falling forward, then ended up fumbling the ball. Turnovers cost coaches and players their jobs every year in the NFL, so the runner will need to extend the ball safely or not at all. He is not the fastest back, instead he runs with the same speed and urgency on every single play. There are no afterburners on the former Gopher back. I also noticed he prefers to hold the ball in his right hand, and does not like to switch the pigskin to the arm nearest sideline.
Pros (running): Cobb has quick feet, sees the field well, and moves laterally with ease throwing in an occasion spin move. He is a patient, balanced back who can wait on blockers to open up the hole, instead of pressing through with bad angles. This makes him very effective taking cut back lanes that develop. The runner does a lot of damage in the open field where he can take good angles, swats away arm tackles, and throw a few shoulder shakes to clear traffic. When Cobb runs inside, he takes what the defense gives him, gets low in the hole, but does not have the strong leg drive to move piles that you would expect from a bigger back. Instead he is better outside space runner, using his bouncy feet, slight wiggle, and vision to create lanes. The playmaker is more of a high volume back who wears down his opponent by lowering his shoulder, falling forward, and not giving defenders much to hit. It’s his fluidity and tenacity that sets him apart.
Pros: (receiving/trick plays): For a running back so big, Cobb has soft hands and can stretch the field on throws in the flat or scream down the field on a wheel route. He shows good concentration while catching the ball and looks great in the open field with blockers in front of him, averaging over ten yards a catch at Minnesota. Considering how little he got targeted in college, Cobb could excel as a check down receiver with more opportunities in the NFL. He is a solid run blocker, who gets low and can knock defenders to the ground when asked. The runner also attempted and completed the one pass he threw in college, so trick plays might be within his wheelhouse.
Overall thoughts: The runner will be best suited to play in a zone blocking scheme where he can use his quick feet and feel for the cut back lane the best. If Cobb can learn to run behind his pads, I think he could develop into a back like the Lions Joique Bell (solid runner, who can be an asset in a committee), but then again he could end up much like the Rams Zach Stacy (limited runner with average power and decent hands).
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