FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Randall Cobb, wide receiver
Season stats: Seven games (385 snaps); 33 catches, 48 targets, 484 yards, four touchdowns, one dropped pass, forced six missed tackles; five rushing attempts, 79 yards
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 8.4 (ranked No. 8 out of 23 Packers offensive players; ranked No. 2 out of Packers’ five qualifying wide receivers)
Best game: Week 2 win over Washington (played 65 of 74 snaps); nine catches (10 targets), 128 yards, one touchdown, zero dropped passes, forced two missed tackles; 2.7 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 5 win vs. Detroit (played 68 of 71 snaps); four catches (eight targets), 35 yards, zero touchdowns, one dropped pass, forced two missed tackles; 0.9 PFF rating)
Expectations at the start of the season: High
Expectations were … Met
Looking live: Randall Cobb was coming off a 2012 season in which he was the Packers’ leading receiver in every major statistical category except touchdowns. Entering his third NFL season when the 2013 training camp began, Cobb had already become one of the NFL’s most dynamic slot receivers. On Aug. 6, Cobb injured his right biceps and left practice early. He missed the preseason opener with that injury but practiced two days later. On Aug. 13, though, Cobb’s injury worsened. He tightly clutched it near his body but continued practicing through the pain. Soon after, the coaching staff realized they had to force Cobb to sit out, because it sure seemed like he wasn’t going to voluntarily go to the sideline. Cobb ended up missing the next four practices. One big question surrounding Cobb early in 2013 was whether he’d be the primary kick and punt returner. With Jeremy Ross in tow, Green Bay had another option, and given Aaron Rodgers’ publicly stated preference to keep Cobb off special teams, the Packers had some added incentive to find someone else for that role.
Upon further review: After two regular-season games, Cobb appeared to be poised to take his game to an elite level. Against San Francisco and Washington, Cobb totaled 16 receptions for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Had he been able to keep up that pace, Cobb would’ve finished the season with 128 catches for 1,888 yards and 16 touchdowns. Those numbers would’ve led the NFL in each category. Cobb wasn’t able to continue that extremely high level of production in Green Bay’s next two games. It was in the Packers’ fifth game, however, that Cobb found his season cut short when a tackle near his knees fractured his tibia. Cobb was placed on injured reserve but was given the team’s designation to return. That made Cobb eligible to return in Week 15 at Dallas. But Cobb wasn’t ready yet when that time came. With a must-win Week 17 game approaching and Rodgers finally getting his own clearance, Cobb found out 24 hours before kickoff that he’d been medically cleared to play — albeit on a limited snap count. Cobb’s return had a huge impact on the game, with both of his receptions being for touchdowns. It was, of course, his game-winning touchdown catch in the final minute that Cobb’s season is best remembered for. That pass from Rodgers to Cobb won the NFC North for Green Bay and was later named the NFL’s Play of the Year. Cobb played 70 percent of the offensive snaps in the playoff loss to San Francisco and even re-took his role as the featured return man, but it was apparent that he wasn’t quite his normal, game-changing self yet.
Overall 2013 grade: B
Status for 2014: One-hundred percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Cobb’s 2014 season will be the last one under his rookie contract. That means a major pay day will be coming his way soon. Cobb won’t even turn 24 years old until August, so not only is he tremendously talented, he’s also still incredibly young with a lot of room to grow. If Cobb can avoid a major injury, he’s shown that he has the tools (even at 5-foot-10) to be among the NFL’s top wide receivers.