The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. Daily fantasy players should know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Indiana wide receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr., who has declared early for the draft. For the total list of all players leaving school early, see our underclassmen tracker.
For more on all the other receivers in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft wide receiver rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 8.
Redshirt Junior | 6’3″ and 220 Pounds | Born August 25, 1995 (Age: 22) | Projection: Rounds 5-7
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.64 sec | bench reps: 11 | 3-cone: 6.7 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.32 | vertical: 30 in | broad: 113 in
I try not to put too much stock into what prior players from a conference or school have done in the NFL, but the Big Ten — and Indiana in particular — hasn’t been represented all that well by wide receivers in the NFL, and it’s not for lack of collegiate production or draft pedigree. Here are the three Indiana receivers (other than Cobbs) to have a season of 1,000 yards receiving since 2000.
- Cody Latimer (2014, second round): 72 receptions, 1,096 yards, nine touchdowns (2013)
- James Hardy (2008, second round): 79 receptions, 1,125 yards, 16 touchdowns (2007)
- Courtney Roby (2005, third round): 59 receptions,1,039 yards, four touchdowns (2002)
All of these guys were top-75 draft picks. All of them had their 1,000-yard campaigns as underclassmen. Not one of them lived up to his draft equity, As predecessors, they don’t suggest anything good for Cobbs.
After a nondescript freshman campaign as a depth receiver (seven receptions for 114 yards), Cobbs broke out as a sophomore in 2015, leading the team with 60 receptions and 1,035 yards. He finished, though, with just four touchdowns, and his 27.1 percent share of the team’s receiving yards was middling. On the first series of the 2016 campaign — literally before he had even touched the ball — Cobbs suffered a season-ending ankle injury and was forced to take a medical redshirt, and then he was arrested at a concert in July 2017. Nevertheless, he returned last season and led the team with 72 receptions, 841 yards, and eight touchdowns receiving.
Cobbs somehow entered the combine with Day 2 hype, but his 4.64-second 40 time has dropped him to the Day 3 conversation. Even so, Cobbs displayed strong agility at the combine, and it’s possible that he could find a role in the NFL as a big-bodied slot option à la Jordan Matthews given his style of play and ability to box out defenders and attack the ball. Still, he never had even 30 percent of his team’s receiving yards in a season, and he seems limited as an athlete and player. Little he’s done to this point suggests that his fate will be any better than that of the average Big Ten receiver who plays special teams in the NFL.
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports