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Scouting Profile: Running Back Dalvin Cook

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 7, 2017

Running back Dalvin Cook failed to impress at the NFL Combine, but NFL Writer Mike Tagliere says he may have shown limitations long before that.

Dalvin Cook, Florida State

Height: 5’10”
Weight: 210 lbs.
40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
3-Cone drill: 7.27 seconds
Broad jump: 9’8”

Prior to starting my research, it was pretty much a consensus among the industry that Cook would be the No. 1 running back off the board, and potentially the No. 1 pick in dynasty drafts. After doing research on him, as well as watching all of the game tape available to me, he may not be in my top three running backs.

There doesn’t seem to be anything special that flashes when watching a player like Cook. He offered very workman-like performances with Florida State, but not much more. He has really good size for a foundation back and solid speed, but it’s rare he gets to showcase his speed. It’s not very often he created yards for himself, and when he did, it was due to him taking a big risk. He would bounce a run outside and either lose five yards or break a long run. Sometimes it’s good to have a back willing to take chances, but Cook likes to bounce it outside all too often.

On top of his lack of production in between the tackles, Cook is a very inconsistent runner. There were games where he appeared to be the running back everyone talks about. Quick burst, hard to bring down, with excellent balance. Those games will make you want to watch more, only to be disappointed he doesn’t bring that every game. It appeared that he was just going through the motions at times, and while his talent carried him through those games, NFL teams will likely take notice.

Another area that Cook struggled was blocking, often missing his assignment, or blocking him into the path of his ball carrier. It’s a big knock on him because he’s supposed to be a three-down back that is ready to play right away, but if he can’t protect his quarterback, he won’t be playing on third-down in the pros. It’s a shame, too, because Cook is a decent receiver out of the backfield despite his drops from time to time. It all goes back to the inconsistency that we see out of him.

You may wonder at this point, why is Cook so highly regarded? Part of it has to do with the fact that he posted good numbers against solid competition, while the other part is something that cannot be taught, balance. When getting hit or spun around, Cook maintains his balance very well and keeps his hips low to the ground. He has solid footwork and has the appearance of a three-down running back. But again, the closer I look, the more I want to look the other way.

Lastly, Cook comes with a truckload of off-the-field baggage. He’s been arrested three times in his life: Once for robbery back in 2009, once for possessing and firing a weapon at an event on school property in 2010, and then once for battery after he was accused of punching a woman in the face outside of a bar. Along with all that, he was issued a citation for dog abuse. He’s said that he is willing to move forward to be a better person, but will NFL teams accept this with their first round draft pick?

Potential landing spot

It seems that Cook is likely to go in the first round despite his flaws, and if he lands on the right team, he’ll have value immediately. That’s why the Colts make the most sense, as they are in dire need of a foundation running back. It’s not a pick that I’d make myself, but this makes the most sense of the teams in the first round. If he were to land there, hopefully a player like Frank Gore could show him the ropes and have a positive influence on him. The Bucs are another team that has reportedly shown a lot of interest in him.

NFL comparison

When doing comparisons, it’s to give you an idea as to the type of player that the prospect is. When watching Cook, he’s similar to Devonta Freeman, just not nearly as good. They both have tremendous balance, can offer you a tremendous workload despite their smaller frame, and can play all three downs. When they stick their foot in the ground, they can make a player miss. Cook isn’t as shifty as Freeman in the open field and isn’t as smooth in the receiving game, but if there’s an NFL player’s game he resembles, it’d be Freeman for me.

To read up on some of the other high-profile NFL Draft prospects, check out the links below:

Leonard Fournette – (RB, LSU)
Joe Mixon – (RB, Oklahoma)
Christian McCaffrey – (RB, Stanford)

Ep. 73: Over & Undervalued Player Rankings

Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.


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