Our analysts are constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. Each day this week, we'll share some of what NFL and college folks are discussing in their circles when it comes to five of the game's top prospects. We'll begin today with Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.
CFB 24/7 is marking the days to the start of the 2016 season by counting down the top 25 players in college football.
1. LSU RB Leonard Fournette
2. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson
3. Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett
4. Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
5. Florida CB Teez Tabor
6. Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
7. USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
8. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield
9. Alabama DL Jonathan Allen
10. Alabama OT Cam Robinson
11. Michigan LB/DB Jabrill Peppers
12. USC CB Adoree' Jackson
13. Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan
14. Alabama LB Tim Williams
15. Alabama WR Calvin Ridley
16. UCLA QB Josh Rosen
17. LSU S Jamal Adams
18. Florida State OT Roderick Johnson
19. Florida State S Derwin James
20. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell
21. Oregon RB Royce Freeman
22. Georgia RB Nick Chubb
23. Iowa CB Desmond King
24. Houston QB Greg Ward Jr.
25. Missouri DE Charles Harris
The scoop: "Dalvin Cook reminds me of Jamaal Charles. He doesn't quite have the same top speed but he is a very natural runner and can really catch the ball." -- NFL general manager
The skinny: That's high praise for Cook. Charles, a third-round pick in 2008 who's working his way back from an ACL tear, is a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. Both players are listed at 5-foot-11, but Cook (213 pounds) is a little bit bigger than Charles (199), and might be even more instinctive.
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The scoop: "I think Dalvin could be a high 4.3s guy (in the 40-yard dash) at the (NFL Scouting) Combine, and his value on third down is going to make him a weapon. I see a Jamaal Charles-type guy with his great vision and open-field ability." -- NFC West scout
The skinny: That's two Charles comps. It's not the only comp we've heard for Cook, but the Charles one is a fair one.
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The scoop: "He's a really good player. Reminds me a little of Ray Rice coming out of Rutgers but Cook is much faster." -- AFC executive
The skinny: The most underrated part of Cook's game is his strength and power. He plays bigger than his size, much like Rice did.
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The scoop: "I really like the football player, but I need to dig around more on the person. He had that domestic-assault issue, which our team doesn't tolerate. I know he got off from that charge but I can't put my name on taking a player until I have all the facts I can find." -- AFC scout
The skinny: Cook was charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly punching a woman in June of last year, which led to his suspension from the Seminoles. He was found not guilty of the charge in August 2015 and was reinstated to the team. He went on to rush for 1,691 last season -- an FSU single-season record. NFL teams will dig deep into domestic-violence issues regardless of the decisions rendered by courts. Cook's talent is undeniable, but as this scout mentions, his standing with NFL teams could be heavily influenced by the individual investigations by the teams.
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The scoop: "He definitely runs with an attitude. He wants his due, and wants people to put his name in the same sentence as Leonard Fournette's." -- CFB head coach
The skinny: Cook absolutely belongs in the same conversation as Fournette when it comes to the top runners in the game. In fact, our Lance Zierlein ranks Cook ahead of Fournette on his list of the top 15 juniors in college football.
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