The whole world had Dalvin Cook going somewhere in the 1st round last night, specifically for me, I had him going 8th to the Carolina Panthers. They instead went with Stanford RB Christian McCaffery. I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that was the biggest shocker of the night, especially for us here in the state of Florida. It's a mystery I've been trying to unravel all morning long, and I've narrowed it down to a 4-pronged approach as to why he wasn't drafted last night.
1. The Runner
The word on the street is, a "runner" (someone who helps identify talent) is sabotaging Dalvin Cook's draft stock because he was burned by Cook at some point.
Courtesy of USA Today:
"The MMQB spoke with representatives from nine NFL teams on the topic of Cook, and two scouts independently cited the same man as the source of several unverified Cook rumors," The report stated.
"This man isn’t a certified agent, but a 'runner,' a sort of industry free agent who helps certified agents recruit players during the draft process."
2. Off the field issues
Dalvin has had run-ins with the law, starting in high school (robbery in 2009, charges dropped; firing and possessing a weapon on school property in 2010, charges drooped) and then again in 2015, where he was charged with misdemeanor battery outside a bar (found not guilty). All things taken very seriously by NFL teams. Add to that, it's widely believed he doesn't run with the best crowd.
At Florida State, Cook dealt with nagging hamstring issues, especially in the 2015 season, and he's had three shoulder surgeries since high school. Cook tore his rotator cuff in high school, then tore the front part of his labrum in 2014, and the back part of the labrum in 2016.
4. He's not as good as we thought he was
And this is the most important to consider. Teams throughout the first round have picked players with potential off-the-field issues, Gareon Conley out of OSU has a rape allegation hanging over his head and he went 24th to the Raiders. Reuben Foster and Jabril Peppers both failed drug tests at the combine, both were drafted on Thursday night. Malik Hooker and Corey Davis couldn't work out at the combine because they're recovering from injury, so while all of this is a part of why Cook didn't get drafted last night, here's the real reason that we've all neglected.
He's a great college running back, who has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but what he's good at doesn't translate to the pros the way we all thought it did. He's a straight up runner, sort of like Derrick Henry (who won the Heisman, and went in the 2nd round), that style doesn't typically play well in the NFL with how well pro-defenders tackle. Out of the mouth of the scouts: "Will duck head and finish a run prematurely rather than probing for more interior space. Not always small through the crease. Flashes ability to finish with authority but makes business decisions at times. Hips not as fluid as expected." - Lance Zierlein
Most of his running success came on the edge, and one of the big knocks on Cook was his tendency to shy away from running and pounding in between the tackles. It's much more difficult to find the edge in the NFL because of the speed on defense and the place on the field where the hash marks are located.
Fumbling is also an issue for Cook, who fumbled 13 times in his FSU career. Teams really don't like a back who can't secure the football consistently.
And finally, one of his biggest knocks, is his below average ability to pass block. In a pass happy league, that attribute is essential. It's part of the reason Ezekiel Elliot was drafted when he was.