Every year the one position every NFL general manager over evaluates is the quarterback position. This year the top two quarterbacks in the 2015 draft look pretty set with Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston, but if Connor Cook were to enter the draft he would be seen as the undoubted third best quarterback.
As a Pro, Cook could be a fit in just about any type of role but would be ideal as a traditional pocket passer. Cook has received a few pro comparisons but one that seems to fit is a mobile version of Carson Palmer. This comparison will have franchises interested in drafting him, especially with his current stock between the 6th-15th pick.
As the third best quarterback, Cook would most likely go in the middle of the first round with the amount of teams that may be looking for a new signal caller this off-season. Some teams that could draft a quarterback in the first round could include: Tampa Bay, Tennessee, New York Jets, Washington, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, and Arizona (with the recent injury to Palmer). Cook has shown this season that he can make all of the throws inside and outside of the pocket while running a pro-style offense.
Some may want him to come in right away and run their offense but teams like St. Louis, Chicago, Tampa Bay, or Arizona could groom him as a replacement for their current quarterback. Of these teams, Arizona could be seen as the ideal fit with a great offensive-minded coach who can groom quarterbacks in Bruce Arians. Arians would have the ability to give Cook all of the reps, from organized team activities to the mid-portion of training camp with Palmers’ injury. Once Palmer is ready to come back, Cook would be able to sit behind and learn from Carson a la Aaron Rodgers, Steven Young, etc but he would have a head start in terms of off-season reps. Arians ability to adjust his offense to benefit the quarterback would also help Cook take his game to the next level.
Currently the rumor is that Cook is leaning towards returning to Michigan State next year. Seeing as how Cook is as a top quarterback prospect, he has little left to prove in college. His return could be seen as more of a risk at this point since the reward of waiting a year would only be move up a few spots. If Cook were to stay another, year he would have to battle Christian Hackenberg for the top quarterback prospect in the 2016 draft. Currently, Hackenberg is viewed as the top college prospect for the 2016 draft, even though his sophomore campaign that has been seen as a step back.
*Section Photo credit to Joe Robbins, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Mike Carter, USA Today Sports.