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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU

Cook has been considered by some to be the top running back in the draft, but injury and character concerns have him dropping. Should the Giants take a chance?

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Michigan vs Florida State Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A running back in the first round has been a consideration for the New York Giants since Rashad Jennings was released. For most of the draft process most considered Florida State running back Dalvin Cook out of reach for the Giants.

Since the NFL Scouting Combine, however, Cook has become an interesting case study on the effect of the combine on draft stock. While his disappointing workout hasn’t torpedoed his draft stock, it has created some doubt and potentially put that stock in flux. Where it was once unthinkable that Cook could fall to the bottom third of the first around, it could now happen.

Measurables

Pros

  • Uses great field vision and subtle cuts to pick up chunks of yardage.
  • Good hands as a receiver.
  • Good balance. Can run through contact and isn’t knocked down by shoulder checks.
  • Generally sets up his blocks well.
  • Excellent zone runner.
  • Big play threat who could take over a game at the college level.

Cons

  • Combine testing shows a marginal NFL athlete.
  • Has had multiple shoulder surgeries (one rotator cuff, and two labrum surgeries).
  • Has some off-field red flags that teams will need to investigate.
  • Might be limited to zone blocking schemes in the NFL.
  • 766 combined touches in the previous three years. Wear and tear might be a concern.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

From a purely football standpoint, Cook should fit in the Giants’ offense. He has the hands to be a three-down threat and he excels running out of a zone blocking scheme. Cook’s balance, vision, and feel for the game let him exploit the stress in defensive fronts that zone running schemes create.

His red flags, both medical and potential character concerns need to be investigated, and could weigh on the Giants’ decision if he is there at 23rd overall. From NFL.com,

He's also had run-ins with the law, starting in high school (robbery in 2009, charges dropped; firing and possessing a weapon on school property in 2010, charges dropped) and then again in 2015, where he was charged with misdemeanor battery outside a bar (found not guilty).

Cook is certainly a talented runner and he could be the every-down complement to Paul Perkins that the Giants are looking for.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 13th overall

CBS Sports - 11th overall

Draft Countdown - 14th overall

Draft Tek - 10th

Final Thoughts

Dalvin Cook has become a tricky prospect to project. There are many who believe that he is firmly in contention with Leonard Fournette for the top running back in the draft. However, his disappointing combine has forced scouts back to his tape.

On tape, the issues exposed at the Combine do show up. He occasionally fails to make cut-backs or gets tackled while he is changing direction because he can’t just plant a foot and go.

But he masked the deficiencies in college with excellent field vision and fitting perfectly in his offense’s scheme. Pure athleticism is less important for zone runs, where a back’s ability to identify the correct hole and run to daylight win the day. Those are the things that Cook excels at, however it is worth wondering whether or not his agility, which averaged out in the 9th percentile among running backs, will hold him back at the next level.