Flashback to one year ago and Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Connor Cook were all viewed as top-15 talents in the 2015 NFL Draft. Cook dropped a bombshell on NFL scouting evaluators and decided to return to Michigan State for his senior season. He then went on to having arguably his best statistical year for the Spartans while also being named First-Team All-Big Ten and Big Ten Quarterback of the Year. So why in the world did Connor Cook fall to the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft? And on a team that already has their quarterback of the future, how is he expected to contribute to the Silver and Black?
Weight: 217 lbs
Arm Length: 33"
Hand Size: 9 ¾"
2015: 3,131 YDS, 24 TD, 7 INT, 136.6 RAT
2014: 3,214 YDS, 24 TD, 8 INT, 149.4 RAT
2013: 2,755 YDS, 22 TD, 6 INT, 135.5 RAT
2015: Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Winner, First-Team All-Big Ten, Big Ten Quarterback of the Year, Davey O'Brien and Maxwell Award Semifinalist
2014: Second-Team All-Big Ten, Davey O'Brien and Maxwell Award Semifinalist
2013: Second-Team All-Big Ten
As a three-year starter in one of the toughest conferences in college football, Connor Cook finished his career as Michigan State's all-time leader in touchdown passes (71), passing yards (9,194), and total offense (9,403 yards). Those statistics translated to the field as he is also the Spartans winningest quarterback ever. Translation, Connor Cook can ball.
What makes these numbers even more impressive is that Michigan State runs a pro-style offense so Cook's statistics weren't inflated by the spread offense. Having experience playing under center will help Cook's transition to the NFL.
Cook doesn't have the rocket arm Derek Carr has, but he is more than capable of making every throw on the field. He shows great anticipation when throwing to receivers and often throws them open. One of Carr's weaknesses is throwing under pressure. This isn't the case for Cook as he often stood in the pocket and took shot after shot while staying poise under a heavy pass rush.
There were too many times when Cook's accuracy was inconsistent, especially on short routes. Often, this can be attributed to poor footwork which can be coached. But the primary reason Cook plummeted in the 2016 NFL Draft was because of his father who is known to be a major pain in the butt.
What he brings to the Raiders:
With Matt McGloin entering a contract year and the price of backup quarterbacks increasing by the year, the Raiders drafted a quarterback that they can pay a rookie salary. I would be willing to bet that Cook was very high on the Raiders draft board and that they couldn't pass up the opportunity to add such a talent in the fourth round, hence why Reggie McKenzie traded up for the first time in his tenure as the Raiders general manager. Cook gives the Silver and Black insurance if Derek Carr is injured, but he also could be used as trade bait down the road to a quarterback hungry team. It's possible the Raiders got the second best quarterback in the entire draft, and stole him in the fourth round.