Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
6’4 218 lbs
Really improved his game and helped his draft stock in the 2015 season. He has a lot of what teams look for at the position: live arm, deep ball accuracy, solid mechanics, excellent pocket presence and footwork, and functional athleticism.
However, Cook suffers with decision making, especially when his first read is covered. He has a bad tendency to predetermine throws and go through with them even when they’re covered.
This is on perfect display against Alabama in the CFB semifinals when corner Cyrus Jones intercepts his pass intended for receiver Aaron Burbidge. Cook also struggles with consistent ball placement and too often forces his receivers to adjust to his throws.
He’s not a phenomenal athlete and doesn’t have a natural feel in the run game, but he can scramble when there are large enough lanes. He led his team to a lot of success in his time as a starter at Michigan State but he must improve in certain areas if he’s going to be viable as a starter on the next level.
Right now, the Alabama game is a good example of all of his weaknesses coming to a head. He doesn’t look ready to start in the NFL.
Accuracy: 3 out of 5
Tends to throw high or wide, indicating he’s manufacturing arm strength. This further evidenced whenever he drives a ball right into the turf. He makes some brilliantly placed throws but doesn’t do it with any consistency.
Power: 3 out of 5
While he has a gorgeous deep ball, he allows shorter passes to wobble and doesn’t make the big-time velocity throws you see from Lynch or Wentz in this draft class.
On the run: 4 out of 5
A natural thrower on the run, there’s very little difference than when he’s throwing from a clean pocket from a ball placement standpoint.
Consistency: 3 out of 5
Cook can turn it on, and he can make some bone-headed mistakes, but he’s almost always a high percentage passer that prefers to take what defenses give him.
Field vision: 3 out of 5
Has shown ability to work through progressions but forgets that ability in pressure situations, when he does, it’s more mechanical and less fluid.
Athleticism: 4 out of 5
Not a natural runner, but a natural athlete, he can move quickly and has very good balance and body control.
Pocket awareness: 5 out of 5
Though there are a couple of poor plays on tape, he does an excellent job of climbing the pocket and moving around to avoid pressure. His feet are quick and his mechanics are sound.
Poise: 2 out of 5
Probably my biggest issue with Cook is his tendency to get tight with his mechanics and decision making at times. It’s not always late in the game either. But you can really tell when he feels the pressure to make a play.
Clutch: 4 out of 5
Despite his lack of poise at times, he’s a strong finisher in the tape I reviewed. He has plenty of late game heroics in his winning career at Michigan State and is able to engineer a game-winning drive when called upon.
Size: 5 out of 5
Cook has the height you want, and passes the eye test. A small amount of muscle could be added to his legs but he’s fairly prototypical.
TOTAL PLAYER RATING: 36/50
NFL Comparison: Shaun Hill, QB, Vikings
Hill and Cook share clean mechanics, size, functional athleticism and strong deep accuracy. Hill is a slightly better decision maker and Cook has a slightly better deep ball but the two are very similar as prospects.