Editor's note: NFL.com analysts and former NFL scouts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah will grade the performances of 5 top prospects each week of the 2016 season. Click the tabs above to see their Week 9 marks for each of the players.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
WEEK 9 GRADE: A-
Stats: 19 carries for 169 yards (8.9 average), 4 TDs. (vs. Clemson)
Skinny: Every NFL team is searching for a workhorse runner with the grit, toughness and physicality to grind it out between the tackles, while also flashing the speed, quickness and burst to score from anywhere on the field. Against Clemson, Cook showed the football world why he is such a rare find at the position. The 5-foot-11, 213-pound junior showed outstanding vision, balance and body control while attacking creases on inside runs, but he also displayed exceptional top-end speed and acceleration on outside runs. On his 43-yard and 70-yard touchdown runs, in particular, Cook blazed past defenders down the sideline on the way to reaching the end zone. Remarkably, Cook scored on counter plays on those runs, which is a testament to his patience and explosiveness around the corner.
While those splash plays will certainly command attention from NFL scouts, coaches will rave about his persistence and toughness on short-yardage runs in key situations. Cook's execution of a jump cut and "bowl over" (run through defender) on his four-yard score suggests that he's tough enough to grind it out when necessary. This is an important trait for a running back who's expected to play a role as a "three-down" runner at the next level.
As a receiver, Cook is a natural pass-catcher out of the backfield with strong hands and good route-running ability. Although his surprising drop of a sure touchdown will call his hands and concentration in question, he has been so effective as a receiver out of the backfield for most of his career that few evaluators will ding him for his miscue.
In the end, scouts will come away impressed with Cook's performance against a top-five team. He not only showcased an exceptional set of physical tools that will serve him well as a workhorse, but he flashed the grit, physicality and explosiveness that should make him a star as a pro. -- Bucky Brooks