2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report – David Cobb, RB Minnesota


Minnesota running back David Cobb seemed to be an unlikely success story going into his junior season, only getting 12 touches in his first two seasons.  Even then, it was not until the game against Northwestern where he really took hold of the featured back role and helped the Gophers win four conference games in a row, ensuring their spot in a bowl game.  Since that point, he has carried the football like his role was never in doubt and became one of the most consistent runners in the Big Ten.

The Minnesota offense features Cobb in a number of different ways, but they are not trying to disguise what they are.  They want to line up and run the football, especially out of the I-formation and let Cobb wear defenses down, chipping away until he can make a big play.  While they are not afraid to have him attack outside, their offense and his running style do their best work between the tackles, in the middle of the field with little wasted motion.  The success of the Gophers as an offense and a team is largely predicated on how productive Cobb is.

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Vitals & Build

  • Born June 3, 1993 (Will be 21 at the time of the NFL Draft, 22 in training camp)
  • 5’11” 220lbs (Listed)

Cobb has the build of an all around tail back.  He has giant thighs and a well developed lower body, but has a relatively lean upper body.  His feet and center of gravity are excellent with good agility.  His top end speed is relatively average, though he is able to accelerate quickly and reach his top speed in few steps.  The potential is there for him to continue getting stronger and add weight, especially from the waist up, which could really help him going forward.

Running Style

Cobb is a north-south runner with some wiggle.  He tries to waste as little movement as possible, getting downhill as quickly as possible, using mostly subtle moves to keep opponents off balance.  Cobb is shifty with the ability to make jump cuts but transfers his weight and balance extremely well, allowing him to redirect and change directions efficiently, but he does it while keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, enabling him to absorb contact as well and maintain power.

There are a few attributes that allow Cobb to really excel as a tailback.  He has terrific vision and instincts, enabling him to anticipate what defenders are doing, make them miss or avoid their best shot.  Cobb operates extremely well in tight spaces, able to find places to push the play where there does not seem to be any while making defenders miss.  He never stops churning his legs and is able to push or drag the pile for extra yardage.  Combining that with his balance and the pure effort he runs with, he can be difficult to bring down.  Cobb also does an excellent job of finishing runs, getting behind his pads and consistently falling forward.

  • After initially trying to bounce the run outside, Cobb finds a way to get North and South and manages to keep driving his legs and drag the pile for a significant gain.  A potential 3 yard loss becomes a 20 yard gain.
  • Another play where Cobb should be held for a loss, he shows how frustratingly elusive he can be.

Cobb is undoubtedly going to be knocked by some for his lack of overall speed, but he is able to reach top speed quickly and while he may not be someone that is a threat to hit the 80-yard home run, he is absolutely fast enough to gash defenses for big plays.

  • Cobb shows just how quickly he can accelerate to his top speed on this reach play.

Cobb is not a particularly flashy runner, but he is just a technically sound and effective one.  He has demonstrated the ability to be a workhorse back and is someone that is chip away at defenses, setting himself up for bigger runs later in the game.  Cobb reads his blocks well, is patient without being hesitant.

Route Running & Technique

Cobb has experience being used as a receiving option, but the route tree he has run has not been all that ambitious.  Most of the routes he has run have been screen concepts, but there are some situations where he has been asked to run a more traditional route and looked good doing it, such as running an out route.

  • A popular play for the Gophers, Cobb sells block then releases into a quick screen in the middle of the field.


Cobb has shown he can catch the ball away from his body, but needs to be more consistent catching the ball in general.  He has not had a ton of opportunities to catch passes nor has he been asked to catch passes where he does not see the pass coming from his quarterback’s hand.

  • Cobb does a nice job catching the ball away from his body and being able to turn up field and continue for more yardage.

Cobb is going to have to demonstrate that he can be a more dynamic pass receiving option in workouts as well as the All-Star circuit.  If he can prove his value there, it could make him a more attractive, better rounded prospect.


Cobb is inconsistent as a pass blocker and often times looks uncomfortable in that role.  He will always get in the way, but despite a leverage advantage and a good build, he is too often knocked backward.

  • Cobb carries out the play action fake and has time to get in a good position to make a block, but is simply overpowered by Greg McMullen in part because he is too high and his weight is back.

Cobb is at his most comfortable blocking when he is on the move, either in pass protection or as an occasional run blocker.  He is pretty effective when it comes to cutting opponents.

The tools are there for Cobb to be an effective blocker in pass protection, but much of it seems to be about getting him to a point where he is confident in what he is doing.  That will be a matter of reps and getting experience in addition to some technical tweaks.

System Fit

Cobb’s best fit is with a team that runs the ball between the tackles.  Whether in a single back formation or with a fullback, he just understands how to run the football.  While he might initially be part of a stable, Cobb has the skill set and instincts to be a featured ball carrier and has the type of ability that could see him put up some big seasons in the NFL and in terms of being a pure ball carrier, he can hit the ground running.  If not addressed, limitations in pass protection could be what holds him back from getting reps.

Draft Projection

David Cobb is the type of back that warrants going on day two of the draft based on how well he runs the football, but will likely be a Day Three Pick because of his less than ideal measurables and make a number of teams pay for passing on him.

The clips were provided by DraftBreakdown.com