Seeing as how today is football Sunday and all, it’s worth looking into how our former Cats are doing heading into the draft. Both Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke have been turning heads lately, reports ESPN and Scouts Inc. writer Todd McShay. They are the lead story on ESPN’s NFL Draft watch page, and Todd goes on to say plenty of glowing things about the former wildcats.
Locke is undersized (5-foot-8, 181 pounds) and often gets lumped in with a handful of smaller backs in the mid-round area because he didn’t get much national exposure with the Wildcats. However, he does just about everything well and gets the most out of his physical tools, and in our rankings he is ahead of backs such as Jacquizz Rodgers, Noel Devine, Dion Lewis and Shane Vereen…
Most impressive, though, is Locke’s efficiency as a runner. He runs low, shows great change-of-direction skills and does not waste many steps. He is patient attacking the line of scrimmage, sets up blocks well and has a keen eye for backside cutback lanes. Throw in his ability to quickly slip in and out of small creases and his willingness to lower his shoulder into defenders, and we put a third-round grade on Locke.
While I can only think of a handful of times I remember seeing Locke lower his shoulder into a defender instead of stepping out of bounds, the rest of it rings pretty true. Third round would be a great spot for Locke to land, and higher than I thought for sure.
Cobb has the quickness and silky-smooth athleticism to be a big-play threat after the catch as a receiver or as a ball carrier out of the backfield and in the return game. What stands out most, though, is his NFL-level route-running skills. Cobb uses subtle head bobs and shoulder moves, and his crisp cuts tell us he is ready to immediately compete with NFL defensive backs as a slot receiver. All of that makes him an early-second-round prospect.
And of course, there’s his play-make-ability. Early second round for Cobb also seems a bit higher than we originally thought (mid second to third round,) but it’s clear those that know what they are talking about are beginning to be impressed by the former Wildcats, so get ready to pick a new favorite NFL team next season.
It also should be mentioned that both Cobb and Locke received invitations to the NFL combine, which is great for both of the Cats. While Cobb has been a big name most of his time at UK, Locke has never quite had the same national pull, so the increased exposure could work wonders for number 20. If he can perform well at the combine (which I predict he will – he thrives in controlled environments,) it will really help his chances come draft day.