The Green Bay Packers currently hold the 29th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and mock drafts are all over the place regarding what Ted Thompson will do with that selection. Today, we have one of the more unlikely projections of the draft season, courtesy of ESPN’s Mel Kiper.
On Wednesday, Kiper published his third mock draft for 2017, and his selection for the Packers at 29 was Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. Here is his rationale for the selection:
Cook's stock is dropping a little bit. He didn't test amazingly at the combine, a couple of shoulder injuries at FSU have worried teams and not many teams in the first round need running backs. But falling to Green Bay here would be considered a great value pick. Green Bay needs a back and will take one at some point -- converted receiver Ty Montgomery is really all it has now -- and Cook (5-10, 210) is one of the best home run hitters out there. Cook gives Aaron Rodgers and the offense some help in the passing game, too.
As always, we are compelled to remind anyone who projects a running back to the Packers in round one that under Ted Thompson the team has never selected a player at that position earlier than the 61st pick. In addition, we bring up this examination by APC’s Paul Noonan of the “need” at the running back position.
As for Cook himself, he did indeed have a rather disappointing Combine. His 40-yard dash was decent at 4.49 seconds, but he had poor explosiveness numbers for his size (30.5” vertical and 9’8” broad jumps). Perhaps the worst sign for Cook is that his 3-cone time was very disappointing, coming in at 7.27 seconds. The Packers place a high priority on that drill as a measure of change-of-direction ability, and most of the Packers’ running back picks have had excellent numbers in that drill - typically under 7 seconds. Cook will have an opportunity to improve those numbers, however, as the Seminoles hold their Pro Day on March 28th.
Adding to the context about Cook’s perceived drop in draft stock is a pattern of legal issues off the field. He was charged with battery in the summer of 2015 after allegedly punching a woman in an argument, though he was later acquitted of the charge. In 2014, he also faced charges for animal cruelty and criminal mischief, the latter of which involved an incident with a BB gun. Going back even farther, he was reportedly arrested twice as a minor as a result of incidents involving robbery and the handling of a weapon.
We do not mean to condemn Cook, of course, but feel that it is important to present that part of the picture.
As for his on-field production, Cook was a star for the Seminoles. He rushed for a combined 3400 yards over his last two seasons, scoring a combined 40 touchdowns. As a junior in 2016, he caught 33 passes for 488 yards, a whopping 14.8 yards per reception.