Randall Cobb: Third Year Superstar?

Can Cobb use his yellow gloves to catch 100 passes this season? In the 2011 season, the Packers' offense was something like a laser light show combined with fireworks and giant robots, or that's how I remember it. En route to an MVP award, Aaron Rodgers threw for approximately a billion yards and 300 touchdowns (give or take) and led the Packers to a 15-1 record. But despite doing ridiculous things in the season opener, rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb wasn't much of a factor, only catching 26 passes for 295 yards and a single touchdown all year.

Last year, the Packers' offense was like a high end sports car that only works part of the time. Some games you got the laser light show. Other times you needed a pass from your punter to a third string tight end to get any points. Cobb, though, was spectacular, leading the league in total yardage with 954 yards and eight touchdowns on 80 receptions, another 132 yards on 10 rushes, and 1,256 yards and a touchdown on 69 combined punt and kick returns.

What does this year hold in store for the third year wideout? Big things, according to Sports Illustrated:

Cobb very well could be Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 target again in 2013, especially with Greg Jennings having moved on to Minnesota. The Packers were creative last season with how they used Cobb out of the slot, and his dynamic presence should take pressure off the revamped run game — and vice versa. Should new arrivals Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin help Green Bay crank up its ground attack, Cobb could find even more open space, and he excels with the ball in his hands.

Historically, their may be a precedent for a third year explosion by the young Mr. Cobb. Compared to past Packers' receivers, there's a good chance he'll do pretty well. Here are a few recent examples.

Javon Walker

  • 2002 - 23 receptions, 319 yards, 1 touchdown
  • 2003 - 41 receptions, 716 yards, 9 touchdowns
  • 2004 - 89 receptions, 1382 yards, 12 touchdowns

Greg Jennings

  • 2006 - 45 receptions, 632 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • 2007 - 53 receptions, 920 yards, 12 touchdowns
  • 2008 - 80 receptions, 1292, 9 touchdowns

James Jones

  • 2007 - 47 receptions, 676 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • 2008 - 20 receptions, 274 yards, 1 touchdown (missed six games)
  • 2009 - 32 receptions - 440 yards, 5 touchdowns

Jordy Nelson

  • 2008 - 33 receptions, 366 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • 2009 - 22 receptions, 320 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • 2010 - 45 receptions, 582 yards, 2 touchdowns

Now obviously, not all the players made a huge jump in the third year. James Jones improved from year two to year three, but he missed a serious chunk of the previous year. Jordy Nelson also did not see a big jump, but in his fourth year he had one of the best seasons any Green Bay receiver has ever had.

The point is, there's a good chance Randall Cobb will have a good year in 2013, and the help the Packers got in the backfield this off-season can only open things up for him. Not only that, but his quarterback believes in him, and if he manages to live up to Aaron Rodgers' expectations he'll join some pretty elite company in Packers' history.

Also, this happened last year. But you knew that.


Jon Meerdink