After watching the Orange Bowl last night, one player clearly stood out. In fact, Dalvin Cook has stood out in almost every game he has played in a Florida State uniform. He is second all-time in the ACC in rush yards with over 4200 yards in his 3-year career. He is one of the only top RB prospects to play in a bowl game so he will get a chance to improve his draft stock.
Strengths: His greatest strength is his explosiveness. If you pull up tape from any of his games, you will likely find at least play of 20+ yards. Cook has a combination of size and speed that you do not see in many other players. What is even more impressive is that some of his biggest games come against top opponents. Against Clemson earlier this season, he had 169 yards on 8.9 YPC and 4 TD’s. In the bowl game last night against a god Michigan team, Cook had over 140 yards on 7.7 YPC and a TD. He has great vision to find the open space and the speed to burst through the hole and outrun most defensive backs. His size and power also allow him to be effective between the tackles. Below, he shows the ability to find the small hole, break a couple arm tackles and keep his balance, and then outrun the entire defense on his way to pay dirt.
Weaknesses: One weakness I have seen in Cook is his hands and ball security. He is a very solid receiving back but he has had some drops this season. He also has had issues with fumbles. It may be due to a lack of focus at times, I am not sure. We can also see a lack of focus in some of his runs where might let up on some runs where he could pick up an extra couple yards. Below you can see…well…you can decide for yourself.
Draft Prediction: Cook has the makings to be an every down back in the NFL and has all the tools necessary. He is going to make a team very happy. The middle of the first round is where I predict Cook will go. The Carolina Panthers could really use a star RB and Cook would certainly provide that.
NFL Comparison: A lot people compare him to Chris Johnson with his speed and big play ability. He has a little more power though than Johnson. I think he is a blend between Chris Johnson and Frank Gore. If you combine Johnson’s speed with Gore’s vision, balance, leg strength and natural instincts, you get Dalvin Cook. That is good company to be in if you ask me. Cook should have a very solid career at the next level. His unique combination of size, speed with above-average hands and pass blocking capabilities will allow him to play any sort of role his rookie year, and that is only if he isn’t the team’s primary back already on day 1.