INDIANAPOLIS —- In another year, perhaps Minnesota’s David Cobb would be in contention to be one of the first few running backs selected in the NFL draft. But in a deep 2015 class, the bruising Gophers back might not even be one of the first few Big Ten running backs off the board.

Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon could become the first running back to be selected in the first round in three years. Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman are regarded as second-day picks, and Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford could go in that range, as well. Draft analysts have Cobb pegged as a mid-to-late-round pick, but a strong showing in spandex could boost his stock.

Anyway, Cobb was asked yesterday if he felt overshadowed by Gordon and those other guys.

“[I wouldn’t say] overshadowed because those guys deserved as much exposure as they got. It definitely was great to see that competition,” Cobb said. “You can’t relax. You can’t take a week off because you have four or three other guys in the Big Ten just as good as you are or better, so it definitely was a great feeling to compete every week and actually get a chance to play those guys.”

Cobb, the focal point of the Gophers offense, rushed for 1,626 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior season. That came after he rushed for 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns his junior year.

“I just pride myself on being confident and not being tackled by one person,” Cobb said.

That mentality got him an invite to the Senior Bowl, and he generated some buzz down in Mobile with his hard running. He also showed he has some third-down ability, too, by catching passes and pass protecting. Cobb believes he is more than a power runner, that he can be a three-down NFL back.

The Vikings are doing their homework on Cobb. He says they talked informally here this week.

Cobb liked watching the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks rely on one workhorse back on their way to the playoffs, and he thinks he is capable of being that kind of player someday, too.

First things first, he has to get drafted. He knows he won’t be the first back off the board and that he might see a few of his Big Ten peers get scooped up before him. His moment will come, though.

“My goal is what it’s been since I was little — to play in the NFL,” Cobb said. “So first or seventh [round], it doesn’t really matter to me. … Whenever my name is called, I’ll be ready to come.”

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