After setting a school record with 1,626 rushing yards in 2014, former Golden Gophers’ running back David Cobb was a fifth-round pick (138th overall) by the Tennessee Titans this year. An opportunity to earn a significant role right away was there, but a preseason calf injury landed Cobb on injured reserve’/designated to return and delayed the start of his NFL career.
Cobb returned to practice last Wednesday, when first eligible to do so, and he’s eligible to play in Week 9 when the Titans take on the New Orleans Saints. The expectation is that Cobb will be healthy enough to be activated for that game, and the same opportunity to take a lead role in Tennessee’s backfield seems to be available.
Bishop Sankey, Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster have all had some level of opportunity through Tennessee’s first six games, but none of the three has done anything that suggests they deserve more than a part-time role. Preseason trade acquisition Terrance West has not even been active since Week 2, and it’s possible he will be cut when Cobb is added to the active roster.
Cobb’s ability to be an every-down back in the NFL has to be a question right now, with little production as a pass catcher during his college career (33 receptions in 2013 and 2014 combined). But Minnesota’s offense did not ask much of him in the passing game, and it’s fair to think there’s some untapped potential in that area that a NFL coaching staff can tap into.
Tennessee was a good landing spot for Cobb immediately after the draft in May, based strictly on the team needing an upgrade at running back. As he works his way back to full strength he should quickly seize a substantial role for the Titans, and I still expect Cobb to have a long and fruitful NFL career.