Editor’s Note: As our coverage of the 2016 NFL Draft and its impact on fantasy football continues, we bring you our 2016 Rookie SWOT series. These articles will feature video highlights, combine reviews, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, short-term expectations, long-term expectations and rookie draft advice for over 30 of the best dynasty league prospects from this year’s draft. We’ll follow that up with team-by-team draft reviews because, you know, that’s kind of what we live for.
Make sure you’re ready for your dynasty league rookie draft by staying up on all these articles, checking out our rookie draft guide, rookie rankings, rookie draft cheat sheet and mock draft rooms. There are simply no better resources out there for dynasty fantasy football enthusiasts.
Name: Connor Cook
Born: January 29, 1993 (age 23)
Pro Team: Oakland Raiders
College Team: Michigan State
Draft Status: Fourth Round, 100th Overall
- Height: 6’4”
- Weight: 217
- Hand Size: 9.75”
- 40 Time: 4.79
- Vertical Jump: 33”
- Broad Jump: 113”
- 3 Cone Drill: 7.21”
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- Three year starter at Big Ten program
- NFL ready arm
- Throws receivers open with anticipation
- Runs through progressions without locking on to a single receiver
- Not afraid or unable to make throws in tight windows
- Played in pro-style offense
- Moves well in the pocket
- Mechanically strong
- Very quick release
- Displays poor body language and leadership qualities
- Lacks instincts and football IQ
- Major accuracy issues
- Forces throws far too often
- Passes up short chain moving passes to attempt heroic throws
Unless the Raiders secretly hate Derek Carr, Cook is likely to be holding a clipboard for the next four years. His best chance for early playing time will be to beat out the utterly uninspiring Matt McGloin for backup duties.
Should he find himself filling in for an injured Carr, Cook will have young stud Amari Cooper, steady veteran Michael Crabtree, and on-the-come tight end Clive Walford as his primary receiving weapons. It is a nice mix for a young quarterback, giving whoever is throwing the ball a chance to succeed.
Cook’s biggest threat is himself. He needs to not alienate teammates while also learning a sorely lacking feel for the game. Cook will also need to learn how to throw with accuracy if he ever hopes to capitalize on his physical talent.
In terms of threats to his playing time, obviously Carr is the biggest hurdle. Whether you count yourself as a Carr supporter or not, you’d be hard pressed to find a scenario where Cook takes the job from him outright at any point in the next two seasons. Unless the third year starter moves on after his rookie contract expires, Cook’s best bet to be an NFL starter is likely to be for another franchise.
Look for Cook to compete to be Carr’s primary backup as early as this season. Should he win the role, Carr has proven to get dinged up at times, which may open the door for some early playing time for the rookie. Should he not beat out McGloin, I wouldn’t fret too much, at least not until 2017.
As I said above, unless Carr melts down or moves on when his contract expires after the 2017 season, it would seem Cook will need to change cities to get a real shot at starting. Should that happen, I see a player with Jay Cutler type upside. Aside from the difference in arm strength (Cook can sling it, but Cutler is elite in this arena), there are a lot of similarities between the two, both in terms of their ability and personality. But because Cook is even further behind in terms of accuracy and feel than was Cutler as a rookie, his floor is considerably lower.
My feeling is Cook never finds himself as a true, unquestioned NFL starter somewhere. Because of Cook’s seeming inability to manage games, he isn’t likely to catch on as a Trent Dilfer or Alex Smith type with a winning franchise. Instead, I think of his likely best-case career arc as Brian Hoyer-ish, where he finds himself in the mix to start for a poor NFL team just looking to get by.
NFL Player Comparison
Given what I just said, it shouldn’t be surprising I’d peg Cook as an unholy combo of Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer. There is the weird lack of love of the game vibe Cutler gives off to go with Hoyer’s stunning lack of on-field IQ and penchant for blowing up in the worst way at the worst time.
Rookie Draft Advice
Unless you are in a 16 team, 2QB, or superflex league, Cook should be waiver wire fodder in your league. In my three leagues where you can start two quarterbacks, he was drafted 31st, 34th, and 36th. While I wasn’t the owner drafting him in any of those instances, the late third round is about where I would begin to consider selecting him.
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