Colts Select FSU Running Back Dalvin Cook in Todd McShay’s Mock Draft 2.0
According to ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Todd McShay, the Indianapolis Colts are projected to select Florida State running back Dalvin Cook with the 15th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft in his latest first round mock draft (via NFL Insider):
"15. Indianapolis Colts, 8-8Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida StateProtecting and supporting Andrew Luck is priority No. 1 for the Colts, but drafting more O-linemen (they picked four last year) isn’t the only way to do that. Indy can’t bank on RB Frank Gore, who turns 34 in May, to continue to defy the odds. Cook, the No. 8 player on our board, is an explosive runner and a weapon in the passing game. He loves the game, too."
Along with LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Cook is considered one of the best running backs in this year’s draft class, coming off a season in which the junior star ran for 1,765 total rushing yards on 288 carries (6.1 ypc avg.) and 19 rushing touchdowns.
The 5’11”, 213 pound running back also amassed 488 receiving yards on 33 receptions to go along with a touchdown reception this past season.
The former Seminoles standout finishes his collegiate career as Florida State’s all-time leading rusher with 4,464 total rushing yards on 687 carries (6.5 ypc avg) and 46 rushing touchdowns (also a school record).
For comparison purposes, that’s more rushing yards and touchdowns than former Florida State great Warrick Dunn, who went on to become one of the NFL’s best running backs during his playing days.
Cook finished his Seminoles career as a 2x 1st-Team All-American, 2x 1st-Team All-ACC, 2016 Orange Bowl MVP, and Jim Brown Award recipient (2015) among his other accolades.
Obviously, with starting running back Frank Gore set to turn 34 years old in May, the Colts could use a long-term answer at the running back position. It also doesn’t help that Gore’s primary backup last season, Robert Turbin, is also set to become a free agent–who was very effective this past season when used situationally.
That being said, while both Fournette and Cook are great running back prospects in their own right, the Colts could be better served waiting until Round 3 or 4 to select a running back in what is currently projected to be a very deep running back class.
If either Fournette and Cook were selected by the Colts, new general manager Chris Ballard would have to believe that either player is the second coming of Minnesota Vikings great Adrian Peterson or perhaps more recently, the Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott at the position (i.e. a superstar).
The Colts would also have to believe that: A.) The team can still find an impact pass rusher in Round 2 or B.) The team has already filled their pass rushing void by signing a big time free agent (i.e. free agent pass rusher Melvin Ingram).
Otherwise, it may be more prudent for the Colts to try their hand at finding the ‘next David Johnson‘ in the early-mid rounds of this year’s NFL Draft instead.
Specifically, as mentioned, the Colts have a huge hole at pass rusher, as well as a number of other deficiencies elsewhere on their defense. Not to mention, the right side of their starting offensive line could use some work too.
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Therefore, the Colts may very well be better off selecting a young pass rusher such as Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, Alabama’s Tim Williams, etc. and going from there.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that a highly talented running back prospect like Cook doesn’t make sense for the Colts, it just means that the team has to be absolutely sure that it can find an impact pass rusher or two still early in the draft or already through free agency.