2017 NFL Draft: Could Dalvin Cook Be Running-Back-In-Waiting For Colts?

Intro: In his latest mock draft, NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter has the Indianapolis Colts taking Florida State running back Dalvin Cook with their first-round pick. What does Cook bring to the table?

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INDIANAPOLIS — "Highly efficient. Above average anticipation and flashes the ability to accelerate through creases as they open on inside runs. Doesn't need much of a crease. Gives blockers time to get into position and doesn't waste any time getting vertical once he locates a seam on zone and perimeter runs. Above average job of reading blockers' body (position). Good feel for flow and cutback lanes. Open field instincts are just a notch below elite."

If that description of Florida State running back Dalvin Cook's vision and patience, via ESPN.com, sounds pretty good, then imagine him doing it while wearing the Horseshoe on his helmet.

That's the thought process of NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter, who has the Indianapolis Colts taking the talented runner with their first-round pick in this year's NFL Draft.

Reuter recently released a three-round mock draft, which you can see in its entirety by clicking here. He doesn't offer much explanation for the Cook pick for the Colts:*

"With the best pass rushers off the board, the Colts take the best player available."*

Indeed, Reuter has Myles Garrett going No. 2 overall to the San Francisco 49ers, Jonathan Allen going No. 4 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Solomon Thomas going ninth to the Cincinnati Bengals and Derek Barnett going 11th overall to the New Orleans Saints (though, to be fair, Reuter lists Alabama's Tim Williams as a third-round pick, when many other draft experts have him as a Top 20-type prospect).

But don't get things jumbled: even though the Colts would love to add a talented, young pass rusher, it's not like going with a guy like Cook would be some sort of consolation prize if it came down to it.

Cook is entering the NFL Draft as a junior after an All-American career at Florida State that included 4,464 total rushing yards in three seasons. He overcame an offseason shoulder surgery in 2016 to break his own school rushing record with 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.

He became the only player in ACC history to collect more than 4,000 rushing yards in just three seasons, and just the second player in college football history to achieve that kind of production.

As such, he enters the NFL Draft as the second-ranked running back in his class, right behind LSU's Leonard Fournette, who, by the way, is the player CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler believes the Colts will take with their first-round pick.

While some, including former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, do not believe running back is necessarily a "position of need" for the team heading into the 2017 offseason, one could certainly see why it would be difficult to pass on a guy like Cook or Fournette if they're there for the taking when the Colts officially go on the clock.

Frank Gore is, of course, the established starter at running back for the Colts, but at 33 years old and entering his 13th year in the NFL, one can assume he is entering the twilight of his brilliant career.

Robert Turbin, who had a nice season as Gore's backup and served as the Colts' primary short-yardage and third-down back in 2016, enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, as does third-string running back Jordan Todman.

The team also has speedster Josh Ferguson returning from his rookie season in 2016.

So is running back a position of need for the Colts in 2017 and beyond? You be the judge, but with a new general manager running the show, there's no telling what direction the team will go with its first-round pick.
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The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.*

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