To say that I have received a bit of hostility over my take on Dalvin Cook may be as much of an understatement as I believe the comparison to Marshall Faulk is the biggest overstatement I have possibly witnessed in all my years of analyzing players.
To put it plainly – Dalvin Cook is not in the same galaxy as Marshall Faulk and anyone that has made that comparison with any bit of confidence should have all of their opinions tagged with an asterisk.
When I first lobbed the grenade of disagreement on Dalvin’s abilities to become a 3 down back in the NFL, I was amazed to find how many writers had jumped on Cook’s bandwagon. Sure, the game tape shows a home run hitter out the backfield that can sprint past college level defenders, but why was no one questioning his movement abilities?
Besides the Faulk comparison being one of the laziest things I have ever read, it actually proves a point that we discuss here all the time. That point being the idea that group think permeates every level of the NFL draft from scouts to analysts. Nobody wants to be the guy that sticks his neck in the guillotine with an opinion that is drastically different from everyone else. Their paychecks depend on results and the default fallback will always be ‘well, everyone else had it wrong too’.
Luckily for us we’re independent and we don’t give a rat’s ass about whether someone agrees with us or not. We stand by our assessments and our track record backs it up.
Dalvin Cook is a sound, complimentary back with a decent set of mitts and an uncanny ability to get on top of the defense quickly by shifting from 1st gear to 4th with ease. This aspect of his game, more so than anything else, is the reason why he can rip off big chunks when given adequate lanes to work with.
But what about the negatives? Yep, there are enough that the first round should be off the board for Dalvin.
Cook lacks creative ability when faced with immediate defenders and the reason for this was confirmed by his combine numbers. Dalvin does not possess high end lateral movement. The missed tackles he creates come in open space where he can quickly redirect off of one foot without having to break in speed. When forced to change pace, move aggressively sideways or improvise in high traffic situations, Cook falls short in each instance. He can get away with masking these deficiencies at the college level but when the competition becomes bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic, we have serious doubts that Dalvin can make a significant enough impact on Sundays to warrant first round consideration.
I had my doubts about Dalvin Cook all season and he has done nothing to change my personal outlook or to improve his score on our overall metric. In fact, in our opinion, he has only lowered his stock throughout the pre-draft process.