With former Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook scheduled to visit and likely workout for the Bears sometime this week as per NFL networks Ian Rapoport – now is a good time to go through the checklist of pro’s and con’s in regards to possibly drafting Cook.
The pro’s are obvious. Cook has prototypical size at 6-foot-4 and 217 LBS. He has 9 3/4″ hands which aren’t terrible. His athleticism is above average checking in with: 4.79 40, 33″ Vert, 113″ Broad Jump and 7.21 3 cone drill. He also has a very strong-arm which fits perfectly in the cold and windy Soldier Field conditions. He can also put a nice touch on his passes when need be, and can make all the throws to any level of the field with good accuracy.
Mentally he comprehends the pro passing game well. One of the few quarterbacks in this draft who played his entire career in a pro style offense, so the transition at the next level should be brief. Cook has the ability to read through progressions, and also adjust at the line of scrimmage based on defensive formations and personnel grouping to exploit the most favorable match ups for his team.
Although physically Cook possesses the requisite physical traits to perform at a high level in the National Football League he does have a tendency to be all arm on some throws when he’s flushed out of the pocket and forced to move his feet. Cook will often throw off his back foot when flushed and lose his lower half mechanics.
Cook is inconsistent in bad weather which would be bad for a team that plays in it most of the time particularly late in the season.
He’ll also stare down receivers giving defensive backs (particularly those in zone) an extra bead on the ball for pick opportunities and tipped balls from aware defensive linemen.
Cook also forces a lot of balls trusting his arm strength and cost his team with untimely turnovers. The good news is this is typical in young quarterbacks entering the league and can be corrected over time with experience and coaching.
Speaking of coaching that’s another possible con of Cooks. Just how willing is he to take the coaching. There’s a belief by many that Cook can be a bit of a maverick operating with a glory seeking mentality rather than keeping with the team concept theme, and being all about victories.
Also there’s word on the street is that Cook can be rather aloof, and distant with his teammates. He was not voted by his teammates as team captain despite being a senior quarterback. A very troubling development, and a huge red flag. This from ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, “There are multiple people that have some concern about how he carries himself, and what kind of teammate he is and those sorts of things,” McShay said.
Cook also had a very awkward moment when it appeared he accepted the MVP trophy for the big Ten championship game win from Big Ten icon Archie Griffin in a dismissive and disrespectful manner.
The question regarding Cook is whether or not he has the passion for the game to put in the time to be the best he can be against the best there is in the world. Also his leadership is in question which for a quarterback is a big no no. Physically he isn’t without warts, but if he has the work ethic and passion to succeed they’re all correctable.
He’ll also likely be a day 2 pick which can get the Bears up to two year one contributors and future core starters on a championship roster versus a backup quarterback who may or not be Jay Cutler’s future heir apparent. Cook will have to convince Bears head coach John Fox, and Bears general manager Ryan Pace who are huge on high football character guys that he is indeed just that. Especially for what will likely require a high investment day 2 pick to secure him.
At this point in the process Pace and Fox may have him as an option only if he falls deeper down to a value low risk round as it is. If you ask me I’m going to pass on him and not have him on my board until round 6 or lower. His rock star act is a huge turn off, and from all my information about Cook it appears he is more in it for the fame and fortune than for the competition of the sport and the want to win. With Pace and Fox that simply won’t do.