In fewer than two weeks, the New York Jets will be on the clock with the No. 6 overall pick.
One of the biggest questions of the draft every year for the Jets is whether or not this will finally be the year that they take an offensive player. The Jets have taken a defensive player in the first round every year since 2010, including two defensive players when they drafted cornerback Dee Milliner and defensive end Sheldon Richardson in the first round of 2013.
Maybe this is the year that they finally take an offensive player. Maybe that offensive player is one of the most intriguing players in the draft: running back Dalvin Cook.
Cook has done nothing but put up big time numbers in his three years at Florida State, and he has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Is he worth the Jets’ No. 6 pick? Let’s find out:
How he’s rated:
ESPN.com No. 3 RB, No. 22 overall prospect
NFL.com’s Mike Mayock: No. 1 RB
CBSSports.com: No. 2 RB, No. 11 overall prospect
NFL Combine performance:
40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
Vertical jump: 28.5 inches
3-cone drill: 7.27 seconds
NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein: “Very talented runner with outstanding balance, footwork and burst. Cook lacks the power that you may find with some running backs in this year’s draft, but he is a home run hitter with a resume featuring monster games against his most highly regarded opponents. Cook creates for himself with elusiveness and speed, but his value could be diminished by injuries, character and issues in pass protection. If everything checks out, he could become a rookie of the year candidate right away.”
While he may lack the power and strength of fellow running back prospect, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook has been able to use speed and elusiveness to average 1,488 yards a season in his three years at Florida State.
One of Cook’s biggest strengths is his ability to bounce it outside and accelerate. Watch as he gets outside his tackle and runs right through Clemson safety Van Smith’s attempted tackle.
Cook has also proven to be an capable receiver, racking up a combined 935 receiving yards in his collegiate career. Florida State would actually line him up as a receiver from time to time, such as this big play against Michigan in the Orange Bowl.
What sticks out the most to me about Dalvin Cook are his impressive numbers he puts up against some of the best teams in the nation. In the six games Cook played against ranked opponents, he averaged 127 rushing yards and scored a total of 7 touchdowns. Some of his signature performances include 192 total yards against Ole Miss, 207 total yards and a touchdown in the Orange Bowl to beat Michigan and a 169 yard, four touchdown day against the eventual champion Clemson Tigers.
On the down side of things, Cook does have issues with ball security. He has 10 fumbles in his career.
Another negative about Cook is his checkered past. He has had three arrests since 2009 and one as recently as 2015.
While character issues certainly have the potential to hurt Cook’s draft stock, a team cannot overlook his talent and big play ability. Take this 3rd and 22 situation in the fourth quarter of the Orange Bowl. Cook came up big with a 71-yard run to get the first down and then some. The Seminoles would finish the drive in the end zone, a touchdown that proved to be pivotal in Florida State’s 33-32 win.
So will Dalvin Cook end up wearing Gang Green?
Let me start off by saying that regardless of where he ends up I see Cook as an early Offensive Rookie of the Year contender.
However with two more years on Matt Forte’s contract and many other holes throughout the rest of their roster, the Jets aren’t likely to use the number six overall pick on Dalvin Cook.
Feature image courtesy of seminoles.com