Posted May 24, 2013

Friday Toss-Up: Randall Cobb vs. Percy Harvin

Friday Toss-Up, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks
Randall Cobb was one of the breakout stars of 2012. (Tom Lynn/AP)

Randall Cobb was one of the breakout stars of 2012. (Tom Lynn/AP)

Each Friday this offseason, Audibles will pit two players head-to-head in an attempt to figure out which one will have a better 2013 season. We’ll then take it to Twitter, to get your opinions on the debate.

The showdown for our inaugural toss-up: Green Bay WR Randall Cobb vs. Seattle WR Percy Harvin.

The Contenders

Randall Cobb: The Packers’ do-everything threat raised his game during his sophomore season in the league, totaling a league-leading 2,392 all-purpose. That number included 964 yards on kick returns plus team-bests in receptions (80) and receiving yards (954).

Cobb very well could be Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 target again in 2013, especially with Greg Jennings having moved on to Minnesota. The Packers were creative last season with how they used Cobb out of the slot, and his dynamic presence should take pressure off the revamped run game — and vice versa. Should new arrivals Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin help Green Bay crank up its ground attack, Cobb could find even more open space, and he excels with the ball in his hands.

Percy Harvin: The Seahawks’ trade for Harvin still stands as one of the offseason’s biggest stories. The 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year struggled with injuries last season but still averaged 149.7 total yards per game in his nine outings.

Seattle still has to decide if it wants to use Harvin as a kick returner, where he’s proven extremely dangerous (he has at least one return TD in each of his four seasons, with three of longer than 100 yards). Either way, he’ll jump into the slot for the Seahawks’ offense and should soar past Sidney Rice’s 2012 team-leading 50 receptions. Harvin also recently told the Seattle Times that he’ll play “a little bit of running back” in 2013. The thought of Harvin, QB Russell Wilson and RB Marshawn Lynch combining to run the option might make defensive coordinators sick.

The Pick

Harvin, assuming he can stay on the field for 16 games. This is a tough one with which to start our toss-up series off, because both Harvin and Cobb are set up to have monster 2013 seasons and it would not be a surprise to see them in the MVP race come winter.

The Seahawks have not really had a sure-fire No. 1 receiver for some time — Darrell Jackson, with three seasons of more than 1,000 yards from 2001-04 might have been the closest this millennium. Harvin further opens up an already dangerous offense and, with the Seahawks’ backfield causing so many headaches, should find ample room to catch and run.

The other factors that tipped the scales, ever so slightly, in Harvin’s direction: Green Bay’s attempt to bolster its run game (meaning less need for Cobb in the backfield) and the plethora of other weapons Rodgers has available. While Lynch is a legitimate star at running back, Seattle’s other pass catchers are average at best. Compare that to Green Bay, which still employs Jordy Nelson (nearly 1,300 yards receiving in 2011), James Jones (64 catches and 14 touchdowns last season) and TE Jermichael Finley (61 receptions in ’12).

An argument could be made that Rodgers’ elite passing ability ought to push Cobb ahead of Harvin. But the flip side there is that Rodgers loves to spread the ball around and does so at will. Russell Wilson, in year two as Seattle’s starter, will rely on Harvin to carry the passing attack.

You can’t really go wrong here. This duo should be among the NFL’s most electrifying players this season. And both Harvin and Cobb will see plenty of touches in their respective offenses.

The Fans Speak

25 comments
Highwater
Highwater

Not sure what makes you think Wilson will rely on Harvin to carry the passing attack.  Last year Rice had 50 catches, Tate had 45, Miller 38 and Baldwin 29.  He had completions to 14 different receivers over the season.  That, to me, sounds like a QB that spreads the ball around, not one that relies on one receiver to carry the passing attack.  Carroll says he wants a QB that can play like a point guard, one that can distribute the ball to where it needs to be and manage the game.  His offensive philosophy is predicated on using multiple threats to keep defenses from keying in on one target.  Harvin will probably lead the team in receptions, but he's not going to carry the passing attack like Johnson does for the Lions or Marshall does for the Bears.    

johnplantagenet
johnplantagenet

I'm a Packers and Gators fan, and I appreciate what Cobb has brought to the Packers, but their is simply no comparison between these two, whatsoever. Harvin is in another universe. Adrian Peterson called him the best football player he's ever been around. That just confirms what I already knew. Seattle has likely punched their Super Bowl ticket with his addition, if he can stay healthy. Sickening, as I hate that team for their pathetic win over the Packers last year.

np070209
np070209

Seattle goes back to 8-8 and Harvin is disgruntled by week 6. No more fail mary's for Seahawks this year. Irwin busted for PED's, 3rd in 6 months with more to follow. Carroll just breeds cheating whenever he goes. Just ask USC!

ThatGuy
ThatGuy

Who will have the better year? Hmm. Well Harvin will have a SB ring. And Cobb will have extra time to play golf. Toss up I guess. 

RichardVert
RichardVert

To say that Seattles pass catchers are "average at best" is pure ignorance. Sydney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate. Zach Miller all are at the top level of their positions. Stats don't tell all as Seattle is a team that likes to run the ball. GB completes a lot of passes but that's all they do.Seattle is a well balanced team loaded with talent.

zonkeriah
zonkeriah

If Harvin can become Wilson's version of Brady's Welker of the last few years, he has a real shot at having the better numbers...but I'd take Cobb as the more likely "winner" here. Rodgers will get a LOT of people involved (which will dilute any one player's stats), but his top guys will still have huge numbers. 

RichardVert
RichardVert

Cobb will have the better year but Harvin is the better player. Seattle has more offensive weapons to choose from than Green Bay does 

JamieDusseault
JamieDusseault

Harvin is a prima donna, I'll guess and say he'll play 12 games this year, Cobb is da man!

Otto2
Otto2

Just so I'm clear on this: Cobb has 1000 more yards than Harvin last year and you pick Harvin?  You don't get paid for this, right? 

The Packers step up their run game and bolster their O-line in the off-season.  More single high safety, less sacks means more opportunities for Cobb.  

Harvin is made of glass and has a bad attitude.  Less games played = less production.  Seahawks sneak up on no one this year. 


Prediction: Cobb by 500 yards.  Chris Burke is selling cars next off-season. 

JeffShields
JeffShields

I would like to see a comparison between Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick.

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

I don't trust Harvin to stay healthy.  Gotta choose Cobb by default.

SephirothDZX
SephirothDZX

Cobb, simply because Harvin is a perennial threat to miss a couple of games a season.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

Cobb, all the way...  The author had to make a telling statement... he said "Harvin, assuming he can stay on the field for 16 games."  Harvin has played in 54 games out of a possible of 64 games in his career so far...  Cobb is at 30 out of 32 games... Plus Cobb lead the league last year in all purpose yards...  and he should have the ball thrown his way more since Greg Jennings retired...   They both have great QB's throwing to them...  But numbers come from being on the field and until Harvin is able to be there, my pick is Cobb.  Now watch Cobb break a leg during the first game this year...

MattSkydive
MattSkydive

I'm thinking Golden Tate has a better year than Cobb... for sure

Otto2
Otto2

@ThatGuy    Based on all the Championship hardware the Seahawks have now.  They're not even the best team in their own division.  

np070209
np070209

@ThatGuy ...LMAO!!! Not even close! Wilson will get that one good hit by week two and not be running so much.

np070209
np070209

@RichardVert ...Hmmm, Lacy, Franklin, Packers receivers and the best QB in game. Really?? Packers will have more rushing yards than Seattle and finish in top 3 in total offense in NFL. Seattle, #18 at best. Sidney Rice?? LMAO!! Please!!!!

TrustNo1
TrustNo1

@Otto2  

Otto... you DO remember that Harvin was hurt for most of last year AND was leading the league BEFORE he was hurt?  Pretty significant fact to ignore, don't you think?  

dbum
dbum

@JeffShields throw in russel wilson as well. very similar styles, im a redskins fan and am not sure which of the three id rate higher at this point.

np070209
np070209

@MattSkydive ...Cobb is going to amaze fans this year. Both Packers fans and fans who just appreciate great players. It was very simple to play the Packers last season. Play  two deep safety because who did the Packers have to run the ball? The Packers were also playing almost half the games without Jordy Nelson (missed 6 games ) so it was really just Cobb and Jones at WR. They put up pretty good numbers between the two of them and remember, this was Cobbs second season, first offseason (Strike). You can't play the Packers that way this year, they'll hand the ball off all day long and gain 8 yards a pop. As soon as that Saf.ety starts to come down to honor the run, AND HE WILL, it opens everything up in the middle of the field. This Packers offense will be more dominant than the 2011 offense. Cobb will catch over 100 balls easy. Tate? 50 tops.

bpeterson464
bpeterson464

@dbum @JeffShields Russell Wilson' doesn't really play the same as CK or RG3. those guys tend to run for yards more than time.

np070209
np070209

@np070209 @MattSkydive ...I know Matt, that was my point. I think this years team if healthy, has a chance to exceed that. They haven't had a RB worth a damn in years, now I believe we have two. I think it's going to be a very exciting year for both the Packers and the Seahawks. But this Packers team could be special if offensive lines issues resolved

np070209
np070209

@MattSkydive If you don't remember the 2011 offense check the stats, best ever by a Packers team.