DALLAS — When the Dallas Cowboys signed former Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb in free agency, he was seen as a replacement for the departed Cole Beasley, one slot receiver for another.
However, the Cowboys appear to have acquired a reliable veteran who will bring, not only valuable experience, but a fine work ethic to the locker room.
"He just really is a professional, professional guy," coach Jason Garrett said during Wednesday during the second week of organized team activities. "That was his reputation coming out of school, we really liked him in the draft. And that’s his reputation coming from Green Bay."
The Packers drafted Cobb out of Kentucky in Round 2 of the 2011 NFL draft. The 5-10, 192-pound receiver caught 470 passes for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns in his eight seasons in Green Bay, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2014. While his versatility and understanding of the game aided him in having a meritorious run with the NFC North club, Cobb's relentless devotion to personal improvement is also a key factor in his success.
Said Garrett: "I ask him, virtually after practice: How’d that go. ‘Oh, not very good, Coach.’ And he lists off his five mistakes that he made that, for a guy who’s just getting started in an offense, you wouldn’t think are that big. But to him, they’re like — ‘God, that was a terrible day of practice.’ But he’s got a great spirit about him — ‘I’m going to correct those, I’m going to come back tomorrow and keep getting better.’ So we’ve tried to throw a lot of stuff at him, and I think he’s handled it really well."
The Cowboys have a relatively young receiving corps with second-year products Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson along with third-year wideout Noah Brown. Amari Cooper is the unquestionable No. 1 receiver, but there are still youngsters in the room who could benefit from the approach Cobb takes to his craft.
Part of what has also helped Cobb be a prolific receiver is his background as a former quarterback. At Alcoa High School in Alcoa, Tennessee, Cobb lettered as a starting quarterback. Even at Kentucky, the new receiver had to start four games at quarterback in his freshman year. Ultimately being a signal caller is another experience Cobb can use to be a better receiver, and a better target for quarterback Dak Prescott.
"I think, from him going from quarterback, a very successful quarterback, to go play receiver, I think that helped him play at a higher level," said Garrett. "Because he understands what the quarterback’s looking for, what he wants in a particular route, how he wants to present himself. All those things are positive.
"And I think in regards to Dak, I think just having a guy who can talk to him on a similar level, I think it really helps."
The Cowboys seek to comprise a roster of smart players who communicate with one another. Not only does Cobb fit into that mold, but he also has an mindset about the game as an individual that has helped him achieve uncommon results.
"I think it goes to his approach," said Garrett. "He’s a real professional.”
The Cowboys are hoping to benefit from that professional approach in 2019 as they seek to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2006-07.
Do you think that Randall Cobb will be able to replicate the production that Cole Beasley brought the Dallas offense? Share your thoughts on the Cowboys' WR depth with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.