The Dallas Cowboys lost a key contributor on offense over the off-season. Longtime slot receiver Cole Beasley joined the Buffalo Bills in free agency, and the Cowboys need to find someone to replace his production. After not selecting any wide receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft, that role appears to belong to Randall Cobb. Beasley was a valuable security blanket and chain mover, but does Cobb have what it takes to fill that role?
Dallas Cowboys X-Factors: Randall Cobb
Randall Cobb used to be one of the most exciting and explosive slot receivers in the league. Initially arriving in Green Bay as a second-round pick back in 2011, Cobb immediately became a major part of the Green Bay Packers passing offense. Over the course of his eight-year career, Cobb recorded 470 receptions for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns. His best season came back in 2014 when he hauled in 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. His impressive play was a big reason Aaron Rodgers finished the year with his second MVP award.
At his best, Cobb is capable of beating defenses at all three levels of the field. He has the quickness to separate from slot corners and the speed to take the top off the defense. Additionally, he has an innate ability to find open holes in the defense during scramble drills. While some of his production was bolstered by Rodgers, there’s no denying Cobb’s ability to find empty spaces and do damage after the catch.
Beasley received 87 targets in 2018, and those pass attempts will have to go somewhere. Amari Cooper will still be the top option in the passing game, but he can’t carry an entire passing attack. If Cobb can open up the middle of the field, then that should only help Cooper on the outside and Ezekiel Elliott in the running game.
Can Randall Cobb Still Play?
One of the biggest questions with Cobb is if he can stay healthy for a full 16-game season. The former second-round pick only played in nine games last season, recorded 38 receptions for 383 yards and a touchdown. While these numbers are underwhelming on the surface, it gets even worse when digging deeper.
Cobb’s 2018 numbers are bolstered by a Week One performance in which he recorded nine receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown. That was the only game where Cobb recorded more than five receptions and 43 yards. The Packers receiving core left a lot to be desired, and Cobb wasn’t able to make an impact even when he was on the field.
Of course, there’s always the worry that Aaron Rodgers made Cobb look a lot better than he actually is. Elite quarterbacks like Rodgers are capable of significantly elevating the play of their receivers, and quarterback Dak Prescott simply isn’t on Rodgers’ level. The Packers didn’t make a hard push to bring him back, so there’s a real possibility that Cobb’s best days are far behind him.
The Need For a Reliable Weapon
Dallas will always be a run-first offense and Amari Cooper will always be the top option in the passing game. However, the Cowboys need to find another player to further diversify their offense. With Beasley gone, somebody needs to step up as a reliable chain-moving possession receiver.
Randall Cobb has the opportunity to be that guy. While he doesn’t have the speed he once did, he still has what it takes to be the third or fourth option in the offense. Elliott can will on the ground and Cooper can win outside, but adding an inside threat gives the Cowboys a chance to be one of the more well-rounded offenses in the league.
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