He’d look good in Silver and Black: Minnesota’s David Cobb


Jan 1, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers running back David Cobb (27) stiff-arms Missouri Tigers safety Ian Simon (21) in the first quarter of the 2015 Citrus Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota’s David Cobb could end up being a mid-to-late round steal in the 2015 NFL Draft

Welcome to the first installment of “He’d look good in Silver and Black.” This will be weekly (maybe more) recurring piece highlighting some under-the-radar prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft who could help the winning cause of the Oakland Raiders.

Up first: Minnesota Golden Gopher running back David Cobb.

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If you look at the Raider depth chart today, you’ll see a whole lot of names and not much substance. Latavius Murray stepped up in 2014 and had a real nice season. That’s fine, but it was only one year, which makes him still a bit of an unknown. Behind Murray is former first round pick and current journeyman Trent Richardson. Most will agree that Richardson is down to his last chance in the NFL and the pickup was a low-risk, high-reward gamble for the Raiders.

Behind those two are four running backs who haven’t really done anything in their NFL careers so far, led by Roy Helu. Simply put, the Oakland Raider backfield is filled with question marks — something the very best teams in the league have few of.

What the Raiders need is consistency and dependability. During the past couple of seasons in college football, few running backs have been as consistent or dependable as Minnesota’s David Cobb.

Sure, the perceived value of the running back position has taken a hit over the years, but that hasn’t changed the fact that you need a consistent and dependable back to crank out tough yards and close out games. New England doesn’t get to the Super Bowl without LeGarrette Blount. Seattle likely lost because they didn’t hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch. You still need a solid back to win championships in the NFL.

Cobb is a compact, powerful runner (5-10, 230 lbs) with motor that doesn’t quit and great vision. There is very little hesitation in his running style. When he sees a hole, he commits to it and doesn’t stop moving his legs. The end result of that style in college was a career average of 5.15 yards per carry and plenty of runs of 30 yards or more — despite not having what many consider to be elite running back speed.

It’s that lack of speed combined with a quad injury at the combine that will have Cobb falling into the middle rounds of the NFL Draft. After posting  a 4.81 second 40 time at the combine, Cobb sat out the rest of the drills with a quad injury. The same injury held him out of Minnesota’s pro day.

As we know, drills are drills but the game tape never lies. Pull up highlights of Cobb (careful, the music is NSFW) and you’ll see a guy who clearly has elite skills at his position and was able to showcase those skills despite an average offensive line. Not only did his line leave much to be desired, but he was the centerpiece of Jerry Kill’s offense. Opponents knew that shutting him down was the key to beating the Gophers, yet he still posted over 1600 yards and 13 scores on the ground.

Due to the other phenomenal backs in his conference, Cobb’s accomplishments and talent went largely overlooked. I’m not the only one who felt that way:

Raider Nation, pay attention on draft weekend. You are going to see a bunch of big name backs go off the board early and often. Some of those are going to be guys that David Cobb flat outperformed in every way during his college career. When that happens, Cobb will be sitting there, ripe for the picking in the fourth, fifth or even sixth round. If the Raiders grab him that late, I’d celebrate in the streets, knowing you got a steal.

Next: Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie Attends Veterans Combine

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