This weekend is loaded with intriguing college football games. The one I'm looking forward to the most (aside from Appalachian State-Miami ... for obvious reasons) is the battle in the ACC between Florida State and Louisville. Both squads possess young, talented signal-callers but the x-factor could be Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook. Cook is a highly productive player and his versatility presents a huge challenge to opposing defenses. How does he stack up against the top running back in last year's draft class, Ezekiel Elliott? Is he better than Elliott? I recently polled five NFL executives and asked which running back they would prefer. Here are the results.
Executive 1: Dalvin Cook
"I'd say Dalvin is the better prospect. He has more natural ability."
Executive 2: Dalvin Cook
"Cook isn't as tough but has real explosion and speed to break a long run from anywhere."
Executive 3: Ezekiel Elliott
"I'd say Zeke but it's close. They have totally different styles."
Executive 4: Ezekiel Elliott
"I'm a big Cook fan. He's now up to 215 pounds. He's big time. Zeke isn't as sexy but he's a more complete back. I'll go with Elliott."
Executive 5: Ezekiel Elliott
"I'll take Elliott. He has all of the traits to be a feature back. He has more size, drives through contact and finishes every run. He has more value as a blocker, too."
Summary: That's 3 votes for Elliott and 2 for Cook.
Conclusion: Both of these players have tremendous ability and upside. I believe both will have long, successful careers at the professional level. If forced to choose between the two, I would go with Elliott for some of the reasons listed above -- size and power. The thing I love about both players is their ability to contribute out of the backfield on passing downs. They both create matchup issues for opposing linebackers and they catch the ball effortlessly. I'm eager to see how Cook responds to the big stage this weekend against Louisville. I'm confident we will see him at his very best.