The NFL draft begins on April 27th in Philadelphia and the Redskins have the No. 17 selection in the first round. This is the eighth in a series of stories analyzing 15 players who could be a good fit for Washington at that position.
How he fits: An explosive running back with the ability to raise his game against top opponents. Cook had 145 rushing yards against Michigan, 153 against Florida, 169 against Clemson, 150 against Miami. He is a weapon out of the backfield with 33 catches as a junior. He had 19 rushing touchdowns. Topped 1,000 rushing yards all three seasons at Florida State and finished with 79 career catches and 48 touchdowns. Changes gears well, sets up defenders on stretch plays and has plus vision. Fancies himself after former Kansas City star Jamaal Charles, though he’s about 10 pounds heavier. Played in a pro-style offense at Florida State and should be ready to contribute right away. The Redskins have Chris Thompson as the third-down back and Rob Kelley as a primary back with Matt Jones still in the mix for now. Cook would provide more balance.
Questions: Cook will slide some because of character concerns. How far is the question? He was arrested twice in high school and again at Florida State – though in all instances the charges against him were dropped (robbery, firing and possessing a weapon on school property) or he was found not guilty (misdemeanor battery). And then there are the three shoulder surgeries, two of them in college to repair a torn labrum. Did lack of strength in his shoulders contribute to 13 career fumbles? Whatever the reason, ball security has long been an issue. Not unusual for a young player, but at 5-10, 210 pounds he could be better in pass protection.
Cook’s take: “After [two fumbles in the 2015 Rose Bowl] I addressed the media because it was something that’s on me. You’ve got to take care of the ball as a running back. It’s something that I watch a lot of tape on and it’s always the man you don’t see. When you’re fighting for those extra yards you’ve got to take care of that football and chinning the ball is something I worked on and I feel like I improved on it.”
What they’re saying:
Todd McShay, ESPN: “Dalvin Cook’s got some shoulder issues, fumbling issues and some stuff to dig through off the field. But on the field I think his tape was probably even more impressive than [LSU’s Leonard] Fournette’s or anyone else’s in the class.”
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