If Marshawn Lynch joins the Raiders, the idea of drafting a running back in the first round seems silly — right? Right?
Well, maybe, until you consider Lynch is a week shy of 31 years old, he hasn’t played football in a full year and in 2015 he only suited up in seven games. Add in the fact that he averaged under 60 yards per game and less than four yards per carry, and even if you love Beast Mode in the short-term, you’ve got to admit there are questions about the long term.
Finally, factor in the fact that the 2017 class of running backs has the potential to be one of the deepest and most top-loaded bunches in recent history and the question must be asked: is Dalvin Cook in play for Oakland?
Regardless of where you look, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook are the clear 1-2-3 (in some order) amongst running backs. With Fournette almost unanimously off the board by the end of the first (unless you read The Ringer), the question for Oakland becomes whether they’re interested in McCaffrey or Cook in the first round.
While we’ve already covered McCaffrey’s interest level amongst our writers, this week we turn to Cook...
Jeff Spiegel (@JeffSpiegel)
If you read my take on McCaffrey, you already know where this is headed for me: hard pass. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I’m sick of reading mock drafts projecting Oakland to draft anything other than defense at the top of the draft.
Would Dalvin Cook make the Oakland offense better? Absolutely. The guy is 5’10”, 210 pounds and runs a sub 4.5 40 — on top of an impressive college resume. He’s head-and-shoulders above Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington (obviously).
But the Raiders need to make the leap defensively in 2017-18 and with no real priority given to the defense in free agency, I don’t care who’s available at No. 24 on offense — I’m passing.
Daniel LeBaron (@DTLeBaron)
Dalvin Cook was the most exciting RB in college football last season hands down. At 5-10, 210-lbs, his quick-cutting, natural running style is reminiscent of Shady McCoy. At Florida State in 2016, he put up a jaw dropping 1,765 rushing yards to go along with 488 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns. On the football field, he is one of the most versatile, score-from-anywhere type players any coach could want.
It's what's happened off the field that has NFL scouts concerned.
Cook has been arrested multiple times throughout his young life, and for some really alarming things like robbery, animal mistreatment and battery. He has kept out of trouble over the last while though, so it will be up to the Raiders' staff to do their due diligence on whether or not he is mature enough to handle the privilege of playing in the NFL. If not for these issues and a long list of injuries, Cook would be a surefire top-20 pick. Based on pure skill, the Raiders would be thrilled if he drops to 24th.
When you hate Florida State as much as I do, you find it hard to see the good side of their team. Sometimes their players are so good that you can't stand them. Such was the case with Jameis Winston, and such is the case with Cook.
There's no question that Cook was the best player on Florida State's team last year. He has blazing speed and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. The one thing he doesn't really do is change direction quickly — he's a one cut and go guy. He's actually a smaller version of Latavius Murray in that sense.
Cook's main problem is that he does have a tendency to fumble. He can truly be a complete back if he improves his ball security. Cook is such an impressive talent that I highly doubt he even makes it to the 24th pick. I see a team like the Colts taking him. Running back is so deep this year I don't think Cook is a great option when the Raiders could get a similar player like Wayne Gallman or James Conner in the fourth or fifth round. That's to say nothing about the likelihood the Raiders sign Marshawn Lynch sometime soon.
Levi Damien (@LeviDamien)
Dalvin Cook is an electric talent, there’s no doubt about that. But he has plenty of issues to consider. He fumbles a lot (12 of them), he has had a lot of injury issues with his shoulders and has had three surgeries to repair them, and he has had a series of off the field run-ins with the law as well having been arrested twice, charged with criminal mischief another time, and also cited for mistreatment of his animals. He got off each time, of course, and never missed a game to suspension. This IS Florida State we’re talking about.
Cook’s also not the bruising workhorse the Raiders need to go along with speedy scat backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Add that Marshawn Lynch looks to be joining the team soon and the Raiders have no real need to get a running back this high in the draft. Defense should still the focus early in this draft.