A Miami native and 2013 Mr. Football of Florida, Dalvin Cook originally committed to play for the Florida Gators as a 5-star recruit, he would ultimately flip to Florida State and take his talents to Tallahassee where he would go on to re-write the record books. Cook became the Seminoles’ all-time leading rusher, surpassing the legendary Warrick Dunn. Cook also holds team records for most all-purpose yards in a single season, career TDs and became the first Seminole freshman to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards, among other incredible feats.
Aside from all the production and accolades, Cook is fixing to be a top 15 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft where he currently stands neck-and-neck as the top overall running back alongside LSU’s Leonard Fournette. On my personal rankings, Cook stands atop the list. The junior running back is the total package. He offers size, speed, power, vision, elusiveness, physicality and receiving ability. Oh, and he also went to the same high school as Devonta Freeman, for whatever that’s worth.
With his incredible talent comes some baggage. Cook has a long list which includes a mix of off-field issues along with an extended medical history. This alone may force him to drop a bit on some team’s draft boards. However, he is a remarkable talent and is a surefire top 15 pick. It’ll be interesting to see how he tests at the combine in every phase including physical drills, medical evaluations and team interviews.
Name: Dalvin Cook
School: Florida State
Comparison: Jamaal Charles
Draft Grade: Top 15
Positives: Superb vision and makes quick decisions. Usually finds an open holes. Ability to set up blocks is second to none. Patient, elusive, smooth and shifty. Runs with tempo and physicality. Explodes through the line of scrimmage. Slippery between the tackles. Breakaway speed and runs to the endzone like a sprinter to the finish line. Hits the hole with a lot of speed and burst. Tight angling to the outside. Hits the corner with quickness and burst and usually wins the edge at the sweet spot. Quick, swift foot movement. Stellar acceleration and gets to top gear in an instant. Explosive jump cut. Gains room with cutting ability. Resets runs and still manages to make something out of it. Shakes off closing tacklers. Compact body with strong build and tree trunks for thighs. Keeps legs churning – relentless and squeezes out the extra yards. Barrels into the endzone from a yard or two out. Displays balance through traffic. Quick and explosive off the exchange. Deceptive strength. Excels as a pass catcher and can even make an impact in the downfield passing game. Adjusts well to poorly thrown balls. Serves as a security blanket as an underneath option. Willing blocker and shows potential. A mismatch and should force coverage from defensive backs. Convincing off play action. Ultra productive college career. Turns 22 in August.
Negatives: Ball security is a concern – fumbled 13 times during his college career. Stopped in the backfield a handful of times per game. Struggles to break tackles before gaining speed. Drops a wide-open pass on occasion. Blocking technique could use tweaking. Could fill shopping list with off-field run-ins and injury history. Tore front labrum (2014), tore back labrum (2016), dealt with hamstring issues since 2015, three shoulder surgeries since high school. Robbery (2009), caught with gun possession and fired it on campus (2010) – both charges were dropped. Found not guilty on a battery misdemeanor charge outside a bar (2015),
Outlook: In an extremely deep RB class, Dalvin Cook is at the top of my positional rankings. He’s the total package and brings everything to the table. Cook very well could possess the best vision of any back in the class. He has legit low 4.4 speed combined with power, elusiveness, physicality and shiftiness. Plus, he adds an extra element as a receiver who can come out of the backfield and pose a threat downfield in the passing game. His medical history and off-field concerns may raise some red flags, but he is undeniable talent and a future Pro Bowler if he can stay on the football field. Him and Fournette are going to be compared for the next decade or so, and I think Cook has a real possibility of having the better NFL career in hindsight as he brings a more well-rounded and intriguing skillset.