clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Giants eyeballing Georgia running back James Cook in 2022 NFL Draft?

Giants GM Joe Schoen said to be looking at Cook, among other Georgia prospects

NFL: MAR 03 Scouting Combine
James Cook speaks at the Combine
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Despite everything he has going on with Wednesday being the first official day of 2022 NFL free agency, word began filtering out on Tuesday that New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen would be in attendance at the Georgia Pro Day.

That has indeed turned out to be the case. There are, of course, a multitude of Georgia prospects the Giants could be interested in. Those include edge defender Travon Walker, linebackers Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker, safety Lewis Cine and wide receiver George Pickens.

There is, however, buzz that it is Bulldogs’ running back James Cook who could be the apple of Schoen’s eye.

In his prospect profile of Cook, our Chris Pflum gave Cook a solid Day 2 grade. He wrote, in part:

“James Cook III likely projects as a number two, or important “change of pace” back at the NFL level. He would likely have been called a “third down back” in previous years, though modern offenses have recognized the usefulness of pass catching runners on all three downs.

“Cook will have the most value for teams that run zone blocking schemes and make heavy use of their running backs in the passing game. Cook’s ability to effectively play receiver will allow his future offense a wide variety of options with regards to alignment, motion, and misdirection. While Cook likely isn’t the same caliber of player as Alvin Kamara has been in the NFL, he offers a similar skillset in his ability as a runner and receiver.

“And Cook is an exciting runner in addition to his upside as a receiver. He plays quickly and is tougher to bring down than his size would suggest. He is very capable of picking his way through the traffic at the line of scrimmage and breaking off big runs for chunk yardage in the open field.”

Cook is the brother of highly-successful Minnesota Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook. My own notes after watching several of Cook’s game include this:

Strengths

– Excellent receiver | Some route-running savvy when split wide | won big on wheel and Texas routes
– Home run threat in space
– Too much speed for backers/safeties
– If a receiving/change of pace back is what you want, this is your guy
– Slashing runner who just needs a crease

Weaknesses

– Not much play strength … can be arm tackled … not a high volume guy
– Ineffective as a blocker

The Giants recently cut veteran running back Devontae Booker in a salary cap move. They have only unproven backs Gary Brightwell and Antonio Williams on the roster as backups to Saquon Barkley. There could be several running backs who are attractive to the Giants in the upcoming draft.

The NFL Mock Draft Database currently has Cook averaging being chosen No. 83 overall in mock drafts. The Giants have picks No. 67 and 81 in the upcoming draft.

Would you like Cook as a play-making change of pace complement to Barkley?