Dalvin Cook is not only leaving Florida State as the holder of every significant rushing record for the Seminoles, but is also one of the top running back prospects in the 2017 NFL draft.
Cook averaged over 1,700 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns per season over the last two years, helping him set the all-time records at that school in career rushing yards (4,464), career touchdowns (46), and career carries (687).
Let’s look at some video of Cook to see what he does well, what may need some work, and how he may fit for the Bengals. The first game we’ll look at was against the Clemson Tigers, who won the national championship this past season.
In this clip, Cook shows you what any team would like to see — a pass blocker who is both willing and effective. He takes on a defensive end, who gets past the Florida State tight end, only to be stopped cold by the 210 pound Cook.
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This clip shows Cook’s penchant for scoring touchdowns. Despite only weighing in at 210 pounds, Cook cranked out 38 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons. That’s no small feat for any college running back, let alone one who isn’t considered a “big” back.
His touchdown run is reminiscent of many of his runs, where his vision allows him to find the open lane, and his ability to quickly change direction gets him headed towards the end zone. He finishes off the run by bowling through two defensive backs.
This play is the quintessential Cook doing what Cook does well
- He is able to quickly stop and change direction
- He is able to find an open lane to run through
- He is able to drag the defensive back for a few extra yards
- And he puts the ball on the ground at the end of the play. (Ball security — both on carries and securing catches — have been a concern for him in his career)
In this play, which is more common than uncommon for Cook, he shows off what makes him a special runner. His ability to stop, cut, and make defenders miss sets him apart from many of his counterparts in this year’s draft. In the open field, he is a very dangerous offensive weapon.
Seeing how difficult he can be to bring down in the open field, it may make one wonder why he wasn’t utilized more often in the passing game. This clip clearly illustrates why.
What to like:
Cook offers many things to like as a runner. He has good vision to find open running lanes, and a quick change of direction to get to those lanes. He is an elusive runner with a keen ability to make defenders miss. He also brings good speed to get around the edge and run away from defenders for long touchdowns.
What to hope was better:
A lack of focus, both on and off the field, have given him a bad reputation for fumbles, drops, and arrests. If he can get past these issues, he is a great prospect. But those three areas are going to give NFL teams pause before selecting him in the draft. He isn’t a “power runner”, but he does run with enough strength to break a tackle and knock over a smaller defender.
As a Bengals’ running back:
Cook is kind of hard to peg as a clear replacement for either Giovani Bernard or Jeremy Hill. As a runner, he is a bigger, more elusive version of Bernard. But he struggles putting the ball on the ground as a runner and receiver, which Bernard has no problems with. He’s not a human touchdown plow like the Bengals perceive Jeremy Hill to be, but does just about everything else better.
In the days before Jeremy Hill, the Bengals were willing to roll with a feature back in the 215 to 225-pound range with Rudi Johnson, Cedric Benson and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. There is no rule saying the Bengals need to stick with a plodding 230+ pound runner like Hill in their committee.
If the Bengals are able to pull away from their self-imposed player dimensions in the pursuit of production, Cook could replace Hill as a much more dynamic, explosive, faster, and elusive runner on first and second down, with Bernard’s receiving skills placing him in a third down role.
Are you interested in the Bengals drafting Dalvin Cook?
This poll is closed
Yes. Take him at 9 overall!
Yes. I’d love him in the 2nd round, but not the first.
Yes, I like him. But not in the first 2 rounds, so basically no.
Not at all.