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Rodgers rejoices? Packers take WR Cobb, RB Green

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CHRIS JENKINS
April 30, 2011
— Although it's difficult to predict winners and losers in the middle of the NFL draft, one player sure seems to be having a pretty good couple days: Aaron Rodgers.

The Green Bay Packers added exclusively to their offense with their first three picks this year, taking Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb in the second round and Hawaii running back Alex Green in the third round on Friday.


The Packers took an offensive tackle, Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod, on Thursday.


And soon after getting a call from the Packers, Cobb said he planned to call his new QB.


"Right now I'm trying to get ahold of Aaron Rodgers," Cobb said. "And I want to get wherever he is as soon as I possibly can and start working and start building a relationship and a bond with him on the field."


Green already has a connection with the quarterback.


Before going to Hawaii, Green played junior-college ball at Butte College the same place Rodgers played before going to Cal. Green doesn't know Rodgers but certainly is familiar with the family.


"I played with his little brother," Green said.


Jordan Rodgers played at Butte before transferring to Vanderbilt.


Packers general manager Ted Thompson said it was a coincidence the Packers focused almost exclusively on offense, although he noted offensive-minded coach Mike McCarthy might be smiling.


"It's just the way it worked out," Thompson said. "Although I was kidding Mike about it."


After riding their high-octane offense to a Super Bowl victory, the Packers weren't about to neglect that side of the ball in this year's NFL draft.


The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Cobb could add to the Packers' already-potent passing game and potentially shore up what has been an inconsistent return game. He brings plenty of versatility, beginning his college career as a quarterback and running the Wildcat at Kentucky.


"He was kind of Kentucky's offense for the last couple years," Thompson said.


Packers wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett said that Cobb should fit in well, praising his ability to get yards after the catch a main point of emphasis in Mike McCarthy's offense.


"We always talk about 'YAC,'" Bennett said. "That's one of his strong suits. He's a guy that stays on his feet, has tremendous balance and makes the most out of his opportunities."


In 35 games at Kentucky, Cobb had 4,674 all-purpose yards, fourth-best in school history. He also set an SEC record for all-purpose yards in 2010 with 2,396.


Last season's title run was fueled largely by the Packers' pass-heavy offense, but they still could use an upgrade. Veteran wide receiver Donald Driver's productivity slipped last season, and he recently turned 36.


Meanwhile, 2007 third-round draft pick James Jones has ability, but also has had a frustrating number of dropped passes in critical situations. Jones also could be headed to free agency, depending on how the collective bargaining agreement shakes out.


Bennett expects all the receivers to thrive with increased competition.


"It's always competitive, and that's great," Bennett said. "Because when you go into (that) situation, it's going to bring the best out of you. Those guys, they strive in those types of situations. It helps you become better. It pushes you to the limits."


Beyond his ability at wide receiver, Cobb could provide a much-needed answer in the return game. The Packers have been searching for consistency there most of McCarthy's tenure.


The Packers also liked his durability: Cobb started 31 of 35 games at Kentucky, with 27 starts at wide receiver and four at quarterback.


"He's been very durable, and that's something that stood out as well," Bennett said.


Meanwhile, Green could fit in well as a third-down back in Green Bay especially if Brandon Jackson ends up heading to free agency. At 6 feet and 220 pounds, he rushed for 1,199 yards last season in Hawaii's pass-heavy offense. He also was a threat catching the ball out of the backfield.


"He's a kid that has some versatility," Packers running backs coach Jerry Fontenot said. "He can catch the ball out of the backfield, he's an explosive back. For his size, there weren't many guys coming out in the draft that can run like he can. And watching him on film, he really stuck out in that he got hit a couple times downfield, they were big hits, and he popped right back up and he'd run back to the huddle and guys on the offense rally around him."



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