Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb set a franchise record and led the NFL with 2,342 all-purpose yards last season. If not for a late-season ankle injury, he might have become the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards apiece receiving and returning kickoffs.
The expectations are even higher this year with Greg Jennings and Donald Driver out of the picture.
"I really don't think I've peaked yet," Cobb said last week, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I'm 22 years old. I've got a lot of learning still to do."
Coach Mike McCarthy's preference is to remove Cobb from the kick-return game to increase his role on offense. Aaron Rodgers is counting on Cobb to replace Jennings as his go-to receiver. "I think Randall Cobb is a guy who could be a 100-plus catch guy every year," Rodgers said Wednesday, via ESPNWisconsin.com's Jason Wilde.
It's no surprise that Rodgers is singing Cobb's praises. After calling him a "star in the making" and a "big-time" player last October, Rodgers told WAUK-AM that Cobb likely would go down as "one of the best picks in Ted Thompson's career, if not the best."
By last Thanksgiving, defensive tackle B.J. Raji noted that Cobb had become so valuable that he and Rodgers were the only two players the Packers couldn't afford to lose.
Cobb led the Packers in targets (104) and receptions (80) last season despite playing 416 fewer snaps than James Jones. That was with McCarthy only in the beginning stages of figuring out how best to utilize his versatile weapon. McCarthy will make an even more conscious effort to emphasize Cobb this season because "playmakers need the ball in their hands."
Fantasy leaguers take note: Cobb is not just a dark-horse candidate. He's a legitimate threat to lead the NFL in receptions this season.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.