David Cobb Can Carve Himself a Big Role in the Titans' Backfield
The Tennessee Titans have added David Cobb to their backfield, selecting him with the second pick in the fifth round.
While the Cobb pick may not be the sexiest one, especially in a class filled with great running backs, Cobb has the ability to develop into a workhorse at the next level.
One of the most productive backs in the NCAA last year, Cobb put up 1,626 yards on 314 carries and 13 touchdowns behind a sub-par Minnesota offensive line.
The newest Titans' back is thick and compact, standing 5'11" and 229 pounds, and shows solid vision and runs with power. Running low and driving his legs in traffic, Cobb is hard to bring down, and racks up lots of yards after contact.
Where he leaves a lot to be desired is in his quickness and explosiveness. He's not a dynamic runner who is going to create 50-yard highlight runs or scare defenses with his speed when he gets to the edge.
While he'll never be a home run hitter, Cobb's powerful running style and nose for the end zone could carry over well and, and he will have the opportunity to supplant Shonn Greene and carve himself a nice role in the Titans backfield.
Cobb in Tennessee
Cobb joins Greene, Bishop Sankey, and Dexter McCluster in a Titans backfield that, while not exceptionally talented, is fairly crowded. Granted, Cobb and McCluster only play the same position by title, and wont impact each others' snap counts, but if the Titans' brass view Sankey as a three-down back, then that could limit the touches to go around.
Cobb and Greene have nearly identical skill-sets and will be fighting for the same role. In fact, according to MockDraftable, Shonn Greene is the David Cobb's seventh most similar player comparison.
The good news for Cobb is that Greene has built his career on being consistently pedestrian, so it won't take a particularly special player to unseat him.
Greene has posted a Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry of 0.00 during his career, meaning when he touches the ball his team neither gains nor loses expected points on average. This mediocrity has been consistent, and Greene has posted a score of 0.00 in three of his six seasons, being slightly above that in 2010 (0.01) and slightly below in 2009 and 2014 (-0.03 and -0.04, respectively).
If Cobb can even shows flashes of being above-average early in his career, it would be surprising to see Greene stick around in Tennessee much longer.
While Ken Whisenhunt and the Titans were pass-heavy last year -- they finished 10th in the league with a pass to run ratio of 1.58 -- that can partially be attributed to gameflow. A 2-14 team is forced to pass a lot, and there can be value in supporting their new rookie quarterback with a strong run game.
Cobb may start the 2015 season on the outside looking in, but there is certainly opportunity in the Tennessee backfield that he can take advantage of if he can transition well to the NFL level. Shonn Greene could very easily find himself watching games from the sidelines while Cobb takes over and joins Bishop Sankey in a 1-2 punch to support Mariota and the Titans' passing attack.