Connor Cook still has eight more weeks before the 2016 NFL Draft to quell scouting concerns about his leadership, but for the former Michigan State quarterback, the NFL Scouting Combine by itself wasn't enough.
NFL Media analyst Charles Davis named Connor Cook as one of the draft's most polarizing players Friday on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft". The fact that Cook was not named a captain of the Spartans in his senior season has hounded his profile as a draft prospect for months, and NFL Media's Kimberly Jones reported earlier this week that it remains a red flag for NFL clubs.
Davis came away personally impressed with Cook in meeting him in Indianapolis, however, and noted the grit with which Cook led the Spartans late in the season despite a shoulder injury that bothered him in Michigan State's last several games.
"Connor Cook from Michigan State is still facing the music because everyone is still trying to figure out who he is. Teammates are coming out and saying 'Forget the part that he wasn't a captain, he was our leader," Davis said. "They went 32-5 when he was there and won two Big Ten Championship Games. I give him points for coming back this year after hurting his shoulder, and coming back to finish the season and lead a huge last drive against Iowa to win the Big Ten Championship Game. I had a chance to chat with him a little bit at the combine. Nice young man, when he talked, he seemed to be pretty open with us, but all in all, the polarizing part is that, plus at the end of the year, partly because of his shoulder, some of the game tape wasn't as good as maybe what we had seen before. It will be interesting to see how people evaluate him."
While Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch are considered the most likely first-round picks at the position, Cook figures to settle in with second-day picks that could also include Ohio State's Cardale Jones, Penn State's Christian Hackenberg, or perhaps Arkansas' Brandon Allen.
Cook's next big chance to impress is March 18 at the Spartans' pro day event, and you can be sure his follow-up interviews with NFL clubs there will be at least as important as how well he throws.