After the first two weeks of the college season, there is a crazy buzz around junior redshirt receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. He has been a Twitter sensation displaying the ability for highlight catches early in the season. His game against Ohio State started it all with him racking up 11 catches, 149 yards, and a TD. Cobbs definitely looks the part, standing at 6’4″, 220 pounds, Cobbs size makes him a serious threat in the red zone but is he a first round pick? I put the tape on to take a look.
The NFL mostly looks at these five traits when it comes to a wide receiver:
Yards After Catch
Cobbs’s greatest trait is his ability to adjust while the football is in the air. He does a great job of contorting his body on back shoulder throws making highlight catches. In the play above he is matched up outside against Kendall Sheffield. Sheffield has good coverage on Cobbs keeping him off the imaginary red line. Lagow throws a nice back shoulder throw placed where only Cobbs has access to the football. Cobbs contorts his body, makes the grab with one hand, and still is able to get his feet inbounds.
Here is another example of Cobbs this time against Michigan. This time he lined up against Jeremey Clark. He runs a nine route, which is a go, or vertical route. Clark has tight coverage once again and the ball is severely underthrown. Cobbs tracks the ball in the air, adjust to the underthrow, and makes a catch for a big gain.
Yards After Catch
Simmie Cobbs with all the YAC pic.twitter.com/VcAcfKgVHX
— Eric Elizondo (@EricElizondo8) September 9, 2017
Cobbs is very dynamic with the ball in his hands. He has the ability to take a quick slant or screen to the house. He is very elusive in the open field and displays great burst and acceleration to get up field quickly after the catch. He also has the strength to fight through tackles by defensive backs and linebackers. The clip above is a perfect example of this. He displays all the YAC ability you want in a receiver.
Release and Separation Quickness
In my opinion, the most important area for a WR to become successful in the NFL is release and separation. This is an area where Cobbs struggles. You probably noticed in the videos shown under the other traits that every catch was a contested one on one battle. Cobbs is not very quick off the ball and does not accelerate quickly into his stem, which allows defensive backs to slowly backpedal, or not backpedal at all. Cobbs has some of the issues that plague big-bodied receivers as well, which are very stiff hips and the inability change direction quickly at the top of his stem. In the play above, he lines up against potential first round pick Denzel Ward in press coverage. Ward already is shading inside and is expecting the slant. What you would like to see Cobbs do here is make Ward commit his hips to the nine route, then quickly break into the slant. Cobbs runs a stiff slant route that allows Ward to easily mimic his movements and break up the pass.
If you just depended on twitter, you would think Cobbs had the best hands in the country with all his one handed catches. However, the tape tells a different story. In the five games I watched, I counted six drops. A good number seemed like concentration drops, which is something he can fix, but still should cause an alarm. It seems like a boom or bust area for Cobbs. I posted some of the drops above.
Overall, I see Cobbs as a solid second round pick, and I think that is where he would fall in the end. He displays big play ability with a knack for adjusting to back shoulder throws that could help an NFL team. He has to work on his separation quickness, release, and concentration drops to become more than just a number two option in the NFL.
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