Florida State's Dalvin Cook may not get the publicity that Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey gets, but 2016 first-team All-ACC and All-American running back might just be the best running back in this year’s class.
A versatile back, Cook thrives in zone and power schemes, especially when he’s on the outside and has the chance to set up lead blockers. He has tremendous vision and a second-gear that he hits when he gets to the outside.
Cook plays at his best in the biggest games, and seems to score at will when his team is in the red zone. He always keeps his feet moving, and has the ability to be a solid receiving back as well, despite dropping a few passes here and there.
Cook sometimes lacks the toughness to run inside, and often bounces his runs outside too early instead of hitting interior gaps. His 13 career fumbles and his drops are certainly a concern to scouts, and his technique in pass protection leaves much to be desired.
Even more concerning than Cook’s on-the-field issues are his problems off of it. He’s had trouble with the law since his high school days, and he was charged with misdemeanor battery as recently as 2015, although he was eventually found not guilty.
Overall, Cook is a talented runner with good footwork and vision. He has the ability to break off long runs and has proven that he can play well against the best defenses in the country.
If he can work on his pass protection and character, Dalvin Cook is worth a first-round pick and could turn out to be the best running back in this year’s class when all is said and done.