Last month, we projected a 98 catch, 1170 receiving yard season for Randall Cobb. Apparently, Aaron Rodgers doesn't think that went far enough.
In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Rodgers lathered praise upon the Packers' leading receiver from 2012.
"Randall sees the game through the eyes of a quarterback because he was a quarterback. So he understands timing and spacing and when he has to get out of his breaks. He's an excellent - just like Jordy is - an excellent second reaction guy. When I have to come out of the pocket, where in the past you might have seen some of the balls go to Greg and Jordy, Randall caught more than anybody last year because he was healthy and he also has really good reactions."
"I think he can be a 100-catch guy. We haven't had that here in a while. But I think he can. I think he's a special player. As long as he can stay healthy, I think he's going to be a big-time star for us."
The key piece of the Rodgers quote is the line about 100 catches. Cobb, who projects to be the team's youngest receiver for the third year in a row, is far ahead of the development curve for wide receivers. He already has an 80-catch season on his resume. If Rodgers targets him more in 2013 - a high probability given the recent receiver departures - it's not difficult to see a 100-catch season on the horizon.
The Packers utilize Cobb in the slot running short to medium routes. He became Rodgers' safety net last year at the expense of Greg Jennings and, to a lesser degree, Jermichael Finley. With no other established slot receiver on the roster and the potential phase out of free agent to be Finley, a large portion of the offense workload should fall directly on Cobb's shoulders.
The only foreseeable roadblock to Cobb's ascension is injury. Because Cobb plays primarily in the slot, he often takes on hits from linebackers and safeties. At 5-10, 192 pounds, the amount of these hits that Cobb can absorb is limited. That amount drops even lower if the Packers choose to keep Cobb on special teams for another season. For Cobb to reach the 100-catch mark, the team needs to find a replacement returner and a little luck on the injury front.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter: @JBHirschhorn