By Brad Carroll
If you were disappointed the New York Jets didn’t add a playmaking running back to the team during Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft, you might get some much better news as the second round kicks off tonight.
With LSU running back Leonard Fournette off the board, as he went No. 4 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jets happily selected LSU safety Jamal Adams with their pick. Now, it’s more than likely if both Fournette and Adams were on the board for the Jets at six, they still would have taken Adams, which might have rubbed fans the wrong way considering the void of playmakers on offense.
But another playmaking running back is still available heading into Round 2, as he’s actually a player some early mock drafts had the Jets taking at No. 6 overall … Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.
Cook is everything the Jets need, as he has the ability to score anytime he touches the ball. The Jets haven’t had a player like that in a long, long time, maybe all the way back to the days of Freeman McNeil.
Cook got better each year at Florida State, rushing for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman, 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore and 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior. He also caught 79 passes for 935 yards and a pair of scores in his career, proving he can be a threat out of the backfield as well. Cook had 207 all-purpose yards (145 rushing, 62 receiving) against Michigan in the Orange Bowl, a 33-32 victory for the Seminoles this year.
He’s 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, and if he breaks through the first part of the defense, he’s got the speed to finish off a run in the end zone. He might not be the best back at running inside, but the better the Jets offensive line gets, the easier it would be for him to do that.
Cook would be the perfect choice in the second round. But, of course, it isn’t that easy, not even taking into account he might be off the board by the time the Jets pick.
An NFL executive had this to say about Cook to NFL.com: “Fumbles and arrests are a bad combination. He's got a lot of ability but he's got on the field problems with ball security and multiple arrests off of it. You have to decide if he will be responsible with more money and more time on his hands. If you have any doubts, just wait around for another running back because there will be plenty this year.”
The off-the-field issues could scare off some fans and, more importantly, general manager Mike Maccagnan. In a MMQB feature, Cook was detailed as having been arrested twice, even though both charges were dropped. He had a BB gun incident, possibly mistreated puppies and someone had a firearm in his apartment, all while at Florida State. He was also found not guilty of punching a woman outside a Tallahassee bar, which is where FSU is located.
You read that and all of a sudden it isn’t much of a surprise he will still be on the board in the second round.
Not many thought Stanford back Christian McCaffrey would be picked ahead of him, but he was taken with the eighth overall pick by the Carolina Panthers, proving at least somewhat, teams were hesitant to take Cook in the first round because of his past.
The Jets would be taking a chance drafting Cook, no doubt, but his talent level and playmaking ability is off the charts. Throw in the fact nothing ever solid came out of his checkered past and it might be easier to overlook those flaws. Of course, it would be up to Cook alone to stay out of trouble after being drafted, but he’s everything the Jets need on the field.
The Jets need a playmaker on offense and Cook fits the bill, especially in the second round, where the investment won’t be as big as if it were in the first.