NFL Draft 2022: James Cook Scouting Report

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NFL Draft 2022: James Cook Scouting Report

Position: Running Back
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 190 lbs
School: Georgia

NFL Combine Data:
40 Yard Dash: 4.42
Vertical Jump: 33
Broad Jump: 124

More 2022 NFL Draft Profiles

James Cook NFL Draft Profile

Cook was one of the four running backs that heavily featured in the Bulldogs’ committee backfield in 2021. The brother of Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook, James featured in multiple ways during his four-year Georgia career.

As a freshman, he played in 13 of Georgia’s 14 games and saw limited work contributing 373 total scrimmage yards on 49 touches. Cook saw more of the same over his next two seasons featuring mainly as a passing-down back. Over his first three seasons, 38 percent of his yards came via the pass but Cook was given an expanded role as a senior. In 2021, Cook surpassed his three-year rushing total with 728 yards on the ground while adding 284 receiving yards on 27 receptions, and 11 total touchdowns. His 67-yard run was the longest play of the 2021 National Championship and helped the Bulldogs secure their first National title since 1980.

Cook is a slimmer running back but he offers a lot of burst and elusiveness out of the backfield. When carrying the ball, he is able to hit his top speed incredibly quickly and is a threat to simply run past every defender in his sight. His vision allows him to make smooth and decisive cuts while rarely losing speed. While Cook was great for the Bulldogs on first and second down, his best asset is his passing-down usage. Cook has a good understanding of pass protection and has run multiple route concepts out of the backfield and lined up as a receiver. He has made a number of wide receiver-level catches including two grabs of 30-plus against Michigan and a strong hands catch against Florida.

Cook’s biggest shortcoming is his size. While he brings more than enough juice in his legs, he has trouble keeping his balance through contact in the open field. 

Strengths 

  • Solid vision allows him to make smooth first cuts around defenders
  • Good initial burst out of the backfield helps him hit top speed immediately 
  • Ran a lot of different concepts out of the backfield including jet sweeps, wheels routes, and even lined up out wide on occasion
  • Strong pass-catching hands (see rep against Trey Dean of Florida)

Weaknesses

  • Very rarely breaks tackles 
  • Gets through the line with speed but usually loses balance when fighting through contact
  • Not particularly filled out in his frame
  • Will not take goal line carries in the NFL at this current size

NFL Comparison: Tevin Coleman

Team with need at the position: Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projection: Mid third-early fourth

Bottom line on James Cook

Cook’s role at Georgia will likely mirror his role in the NFL. During four seasons in Athens, he developed well as a receiving back but lacks a number of traits that will keep him from becoming a three-down back in the NFL. Cook has great speed and he rarely loses his top gear when he is making his jump cuts. However, his frame and lack of any real power will likely keep him away from any goal line touches and the majority of early-down reps. Cook will fare best as part of a committee in the NFL. He also offers a lot of value as a passing-down back that is proficient in pass blocking, has an understanding of a sizeable route tree, and has dependable hands. He is best suited for a team looking for a third-down back utilized in motion, on sweeps, and move around the receiver formation.

Games watched: Clemson (2021), Florida (2021), Tennessee (2021), Michigan (2021), Alabama (NCG 2021)

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