Why Undrafted?: Simmie Cobbs

Why Undrafted?: Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Four years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

One of the Week 1 stars from the 2017 college football season was Indiana wide receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. He was excellent against Ohio State (11-149-1), including getting the better of Buckeyes cornerback Denzel Ward, the fourth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Cobbs totaled 72 receptions for 841 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. It was a good season considering Indiana used multiple quarterbacks and Cobbs was coming off an ankle injury that cost him the 2016 season. Cobbs showed some big-play ability in 2015 when he caught 60 passes for 1,035 yards – 17.3-yard average – and four touchdowns. Cobbs decided to skip his final season of college football to enter the 2018 NFL Draft. While Cobbs wasn’t a first-round prospect, he surprisingly went undrafted.

Sources say there were a few reasons why Cobbs did not get selected. A couple of team sources said that Cobbs had off-the-field issues that really hurt him. They also felt that his physical traits were problematic, as illustrated by Cobbs running a very slow 40-yard dash time of 4.64 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. Another team source said they had a fourth-/fifth-round grade on Cobbs but needed more of a speedy slot receiver, so they passed on the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder. Thus, Cobbs went undrafted because of off-the-field and speed concerns.

After going undrafted, Cobbs signed with the Washington Redskins, which was a good choice. The Redskins are hoping that Josh Doctson emerges as a No. 1 in 2018 while also leaning on Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson to round out their top three wide-outs. After that, there is an open competition for a few roster spots because Washington will probably keep 5-7 wide receivers. Cobbs will be competing with pedestrian veteran Brian Quick, the final pick in the seventh round Trey Quinn, and some other fringe roster competitors. Cobbs and Quinn have the most upside of the potential backups. With Crowder, Quinn and Richardson being short, Cobbs also brings size to the receiving corps. If Cobbs can show the ability to play on special teams, that would be huge for his hopes to make the final 53-man roster. The Redskins also are a good landing spot because they are an organization that will give a fair shot to an undrafted free agent to make the team. It would not surprise me if Cobbs ends up sticking with Washington and carving out an NFL career.

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