Weight: 217 pounds
School: Michigan State Spartans
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.79 seconds
Vertical jump: 33 inches (fourth-best among quarterbacks)
Broad jump: 9 feet, 5 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.21 seconds (fourth-best among quarterbacks)
Connor Cook 2016 NFL Draft Profile
Perhaps no other player has personified the success Michigan State has enjoyed in recent years better than Connor Cook. In his three seasons as starting quarterback, the Spartans took home two Big Ten championships. To put that in perspective, the program had won the same number of conference titles over the previous 23 seasons. His dynamic play behind center played a key role in MSU consistently being in the national title discussion. That included an appearance in the College Football Playoff semifinals this past season.
Cook led the Big Ten in passing yards as a junior and finished second a year later. His 48 touchdown tosses was the most by any quarterback in the conference during those two seasons. Among the honors he took home in 2015 included being named first-team all-Big Ten, conference quarterback of year, as well as the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He also finished his career with 34 wins. That total is the most for any quarterback in Michigan State football history.
- prototypical pocket passer size.
- excelled in a pro-style system at Michigan State.
- impressive arm strength.
- good mechanics and super quick release.
- demonstrates immense poise in the pocket.
- solid understanding of where the space is going to be in the secondary.
- displayed a fair amount of athleticism at the Combine.
- diagnoses pressure well, particularly when it originates from the perimeter.
- weight distribution can favor his back foot, leading to inaccurate throws.
- good coverage linebackers may be able to bait him into mistakes on short passes.
- forces throws into overly tight windows at times.
- passing can become erratic when facing excessive pressure from defensive fronts.
- never averaged above 60 percent completion percentage as a starter.
- perceived inability to step up in big-game situations; CFP semifinal loss a prime example.
- questions about leadership abilities continue to be an issue.
NFL Comparison: Matt Ryan
Teams with Need at Position: Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers
Projection: early to middle second round
There’s no doubt that Connor Cook possesses the requisite skill set to succeed in the NFL. MSU head coach Mark Dantonio’s system is tailor made for pro-style signal callers. And there are a few ex-Spartan quarterbacks on NFL rosters right now. Names such as Kirk Cousins and Brian Hoyer immediately come to mind. But there are some questions Cook will have to answer if he wants to effectively follow in their footsteps. Can he take over in pressure-packed late game situations? Is he the kind of leader the position requires in the NFL? Can he improve his accuracy which ranked in the bottom half of FBS his senior year?
If so, there will definitely be room for him to become a contributor somewhere. But there are concerns from scouts about whether he’s long-term starter material. It’s that sentiment that will likely keep him out of the first round. But he should hear his name called early on day two of the draft.