The wait eventually came to an end for Randall Cobb.
A green-room guest at Radio City Music Hall for the opening rounds of the NFL draft in New York, the former Alcoa High School star had a longer stay than he might have liked.
But after sitting behind the stage for all of the first round on Thursday and 63 picks in all, the University of Kentucky product finally had his decision to forego his senior season validated by the Green Bay Packers, when the franchise took him with the final pick of the second round Friday night.
The reigning Super Bowl champions added one more piece to its high-powered offense as it prepares for a title defense, picking the four-time state champion with Alcoa and one of the most versatile weapons the SEC has ever seen.
“This guy is interesting, Randall Cobb,” ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Jon Gruden said during the broadcast. “Think about it, you know your Packers, they know how to draft receivers at this place. Let’s get another young horse that’s a little different than all of them. This guy is a Wildcat quarterback, he started four or five games at Kentucky and threw over 100 passes in his career. He’s an exceptional punt returner, I think he’s a natural kickoff and punt return man, as good as there is in this draft.
If the Packers did indeed get a steal with the last pick of the second round, Cobb had to sit on the shelf for a while to become a bargain. The NFL invited 25 players to participate in the draft festivities, and Cobb wound up being the last one to receive a phone call.
But when the do-it-all receiver did hear his name called, his potential and ability to fill multiple roles for Green Bay were widely considered a perfect fit.
“That’s the value he’s going to bring the Packers, who need his capability,” ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. said. “His ability as a receiver, he needs to just settle in and work more on becoming natural catching the ball. I thought he was one of the MVPs of college football with the job he did at Kentucky, he did it all.
“He was a one-man show in a lot of those games, and his film had some of the most versatile plays going into the NFL you’ll see in years.”
After the Packers made it official with Cobb and rescued him from backstage, the next step is getting ready to put some professional highlights on his tape.
And if nothing else, Green Bay and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers should be able to provide him with numerous ways to do it.
“When you watch Randall Cobb . . . you add this guy to the mix, he can line up anywhere,” Gruden said. “You can put him in the slot and he can catch the ball away from his body and he’s a natural open-field runner.
“This guy is a luxury for the Packers, and (coach) Mike McCarthy is going to have a lot of fun diagramming plays for this guy.”
Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.