The “Human Joystick” is the newest football nickname, and by far the best if I do say so myself. Tarik Cohen earned that nickname due to his seemingly impossible cutting ability. I first gained recognition of Tarik Cohen after Daniel Jeremiah had tweeted out “[he] might be my favorite player to watch in this draft. Pure entertainment”. After he ran a 4.42 at the combine, I had to watch him for myself.
Did you ever collect baseball cards as a kid? If so, I’m sure you can understand the feeling of “wanting more”. Whenever my mom and I would go to a store like Target, I would always walk out with an extra pack to add to my 1.5”, 3-ring binder. I just always wanted more. It’s a similar case with Tarik Cohen. After watching a chunk of film, I didn’t want to stop. You guessed it, I just wanted more. He definitely lived up to Jeremiah’s label as “favorite player to watch”. Typically when evaluating a prospect I’ll grind out the film study session and take it for what it is. With Cohen, it was much more enjoyable than the standard.
Tarik Cohen ended his career as the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher (5,619 rushing yards). He’s the only player in conference history to be named the Offensive Player of the Year on 3 separate occasions. Cohen ended his career at North Carolina A&T not only as the program’s leading rusher, but he re-broke his single-season rushing record this past season with 1,588 yards to go with 18 TDs. He also made an impact in the passing game with 98 catches in 4 seasons.
Just as good off the field as he is on, Cohen contributes time to the Boys & Girls Club of America. The Bunn, North Carolina native quite possibly could be the most dynamic prospect in this year’s draft. It will be interesting to see where he lands on draft day. One thing is for certain, he’ll add an instant playmaker to whatever offensive unit he lands in.
NC A&T RB Tarik Cohen might be my favorite player to watch in this draft. Pure entertainment. pic.twitter.com/p9dyCIZDax
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 27, 2017
Name: Tarik Cohen
School: North Carolina A&T
Comparison: Darren Sproles (Philadelphia Eagles)
Draft Grade: Late 3rd Round
Positives: Impeccable playmaking skills. A pure weapon. Absolute deadly in space. Ability to make something out of nothing. Homerun hitter with blazing speed. Explosive feet and cutting ability. Can stop and go effortlessly. Elite acceleration – zooms to top speed immediately following the touch. Speed, burst and bounce to the outside. Excellent vision. Sets up blocks well and positions footraces which he’ll usually win. Elusive and shakes off tackles like it’s nothing. High steps leg tackles. Finds small holes and will explode through them. Timely spin off blockers and tacklers. Stays low to the ground and displays exceptional balance through traffic. Smooth, fluid body control. Natural leg bend. Slippery and shifty. Difficult to corral. Deceptive power/strength for his size. Doesn’t give up without a fight and will carry tacklers if he needs to. Willing blocker who displays sound technique. Good hands catcher – ended his college career with 98 total receptions. Polished route runner – excels on stutter steps to shake off coverage. Clutch player who made big plays late in games when his team needed it. Great character guy. Turns 22 in July.
Negatives: Size of course will be a huge knock at only 5’6”. Shouldn’t be asked to block much at this size – will easily get overpowered. Ball security is a concern – mishandles the transfer at times. Fumbled 10 times during his career – half of which came this past season. Takes too wide of an angle to the outside. Gives up ground. Tries to make too much happen at times – will backtrack resulting in more yardage lost. Usually gets stopped if met in the backfield. Slips up in space on occasion. Lacks length to reach for high passes. Level of competition was lackluster.
Outlook: His 5’6” height will always be the first thing that stands out, but let me assure you, Tarik Cohen plays bigger than his size would suggest. A dynamic athlete and playmaker, Cohen is sure to translate to the next level and will always have a role in the NFL. He combines his insane athleticism with plus running traits such as vision, balance, elusiveness and deceptive power. Cohen is a pure weapon who can make an impact out of the backfield and in the passing game as well. He runs good routes and has an established reputation as a pass catcher based on production. I can’t wait to see who ends up drafting Cohen, what round he goes in and be able to project his role. I have him graded as a late 3rd round prospect. My thinking is a team already with a well-built roster will take a flyer on him in that vicinity. He’s been tagged the “Darren Sproles 2.0”, and that couldn’t be anymore accurate.