James Cook should follow in his brother's footsteps when he hears his name called in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. The younger Cook is not the same caliber of running back as his brother, three-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook, but James' own package of skills and ability should be more than enough to ensure he won't be hanging around too long on Day 2 of the draft.
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James Cook Draft Profile
The younger brother of Vikings star Dalvin Cook, James has outstanding feet as a runner, but more than anything his value is in the passing game. He’s the most natural receiver in this running back class, probably capable of a move to receiver if necessary. He has quick feet and the quickness to separate when sent out as a pass-catcher, and his hands are outstanding. He’s not only capable of snatching the ball away from his frame and easily transitioning into a ball carrier, but his ball-tracking ability also allows him to work further downfield and be an actual threat. As a runner, he has home-run-hitting ability as a perimeter-oriented ball carrier who can change direction with ease and outrun angles. He goes 0-to-60 in a hurry and should get consideration as a kick returner as well.
Cook is not a classic power runner, and he doesn’t move with the kind of power to do much between the tackles. While it’s a positive that he still has a fair amount of tread left on his tires, workload will be an issue at the next level both due to his size and the fact that he never had more than 15 touches in a game at the collegiate level. He was a committee back at UGA, and he profiles to land in the same role in the NFL.
Big, one-cut backs have had something of a revival with the Shanahan offense catching on across the league, but there’s still very much a place for backs who thrive as pass-catchers. He might never be a workhorse like his brother, but Cook could be a valuable Nyheim Hines-type of back who can line up all around the formation and cause matchup problems.
Final Grade: 2nd/3rd Round