David Cobb will be a good NFL running back. That's my prediction. He won't be on the cover of Madden. He won't be the face for a shoe company. But he'll be a back that NFL teams can rely on to get them yards when they need them. That's why Gopher fans will miss him and I cannot wait to see him do this on Sundays (unless it's against the Vikings, but even then I'll be happy for him).
So let's talk about his draft stock.
NOTE: The 40 yard time listed above was from the NFL Combine. Cobb injured his quad while running his combine 40 and at Minnesota's pro day reports peg him as having run between a 4.57 and 4.65.
A 3 star recruit with only one other major offer (Stanford), David Cobb didn't come to Minnesota with Jeff Jones level expectations or hype. He wasn't a freshman phenom. Instead, he worked hard to become the feature back in the run heavy offense that the Gophers have developed under Jerry Kill and Matt Limegrover. And when he was given the chance to shine in his junior and senior years he seized the opportunity (and then some). David is Minnesota's single season rushing leader in both attempts and yards (no small feat given the stats the Mason era backs racked up), he is second in number of 100 yard rushing games in a season with 7, and his 13 touchdowns in 2014 are ranked 3rd for single season tallies.
Cobb is not a burner who impresses with speed. As a result, he doesn't reel off 97 yard attention grabbing TD's every game. What he does do is run hard with vision while grinding out yards after contact. He makes good cuts and is decisive. Pass catching isn't a huge part of his game (though to be fair, it's not something Minnesota asked him to do much of). Here's what NFL.com had to say about David:
Cobb's highlights might bore you, but he's custom-made for physical running teams. Adjusting his style to the speed of the NFL game might take some time, but Cobb's downhill, run-finishing style fits what running games are becoming in the NFL and, in the right scheme, he has a shot to be more than just a complementary back. Cobb will have to do everything he can to make himself quicker in order to avoid becoming nothing more than a grinder.
David's future as a pro will depend his own continued improvement as well as the kind of team that drafts him. There are reasons beyond speed that are listed when discussing why he's a mid-round draft pick (acceleration and fumbles are two common ones). If he can prove he's a reliable with keeping the ball off the turf and can hit the hole aggressively at the next level then his strengths will reward any team that puts their faith in him. And if that team is one that knows how to employ a downhill runner? Then my prediction of Cobb as having staying power in the NFL should prove accurate.
4th Round. That's the consensus the internet is rendering. Coming out of the Senior Bowl there was talk of him possibly landing in the 3rd round, but I haven't seen that kind of chatter in weeks. It's pretty safe to say that we'll see David's name called this Saturday.