FSU RB Dalvin Cook – Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston wanted Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, his former teammate, in Tampa Bay.
Cook, a Florida native from Miami, said he wanted to play for the Buccaneers leading up the draft.
Tampa Bay had a golden opportunity to take Cook and please legions of Bucs fans in the process – but opted not to.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and Florida State RB Dalvin Cook – Photo by: Getty Images
The same can be said for other running back-needy teams like Jacksonville and Carolina, who took LSU running back Leonard Fournette at No. 4 and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey at No. 8, respectively. And teams that were in even more dire straits at the position, such as Philadelphia at No. 13, Baltimore at No. 15 and Indianapolis at No. 16, all passed on Cook, too.
After Tampa Bay chose Alabama tight end O.J. Howard over Cook at No. 19 he went undrafted and fell out of the first round.
Before delving into the possible answers to that question, it should be pointed out that at no time did PewterReport.com project the Florida State runner to Tampa Bay. Cook wasn’t in any of our five Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Drafts, nor was he featured in our Bucs’ Best Bets at the running back position. To be clear, our staff liked Cook the player, but felt there was something to the reports that he hangs out with the wrong crowd because it was such a strong narrative leading up to the draft.
Usually where there is smoke there is fire, and that’s certainly the case here.
There was a story about Cook’s reputation and his draft stock possibly being sabotaged just days ago by an unfriendly “runner” in the agent-player representative community, but all 32 teams have done their own independent research on Cook and there wasn’t a team that had a first-round pick that wound up picking him on Thursday night.
One NFL scout, whose team was possibly in play for Cook, told me about Cook’s character leading up to the draft with a simple text: “He’s no angel.”
Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole tweeted out Friday morning: “According to one GM, Dalvin Cook’s rep at FSU was: Excellent when he was around the team, scary when he wasn’t.”
Legitimate character concerns were one major factor, but there was another big one as well.
We tried to forecast the probability that the Bucs were going to pass on Cook on the SR’s Inside The Bucs’ 2017 Draft column on PewterReport.com yesterday, and ultimately were proven right. Here’s an excerpt:
TAMPA BAY MAY PASS ON SOME BIG NAMES AT 19
Based on information I gathered on Wednesday from multiple sources – unless it was a smokescreen – Tampa Bay may pass on some big names that could send shockwaves through the Bucs fan base. Some I spoke with believe that Florida State running back Dalvin Cook may not be on the board when the Bucs select at No. 19. But what happens if the talented running back with the checkered past is there when Tampa Bay is on the clock?
Don’t be surprised if the Bucs pass on Cook.
The reason? This draft is loaded with talented running backs, including Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, Texas’ D’Onta Foreman, USF’s Marlon Mack – all of whom have made pre-draft visits to One Buccaneer Place – in addition to Toledo running back Kareem Hunt, who had a private workout with Bucs running back coach Tim Spencer at Toledo weeks ago.
Alabama TE OJ Howard – Photo by: Getty Images
Tampa Bay stuck to its draft board and definitely took the best player available in Howard, who had to be a top-10 caliber player on the Bucs’ draft board. That was the right move. The Bucs got an unexpected steal when Howard fell to No. 19 and it was actually an easy decision for general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter to make.
Would the Bucs have passed on Cook if Howard had been taken earlier, especially after Tennessee took cornerback Adoreé Jackson, whom Tampa Bay coveted, one spot ahead at No. 18?
Yes, Licht was prepared to trade back and take another player and pass on Cook entirely.
Considering the fact that Cook fell out of the first round and there wasn’t a team that traded up from the second round to get him means that other general managers were thinking like Licht was.
The big question now is how far will Cook fall in the second round?
And if he’s there at No. 50 when Tampa Bay picks again will they pass on him once more?
The guess here is – yes.
The Bucs will draft a running back on Day 2 of the draft, but it won’t be Cook.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
Agreed, they should pass on this guy no matter what. He is not worth the risk.
My vote for today is 2nd round take the BPA at DB/S and 3rd round RB
Jason Cole just wrecking the illogical FSU fans on Twitter has been a fun read
“… and please legions of Bucs fans …” – naw, that would be legions of Noles fans.
It’s interesting that so many in the media subscribe to the notion that Tampa-St. Pete is a bastion of Noles, but it’s not. The Tampa Bay Times has done fan polls over the years, and pretty consistently the Nole contingent has only been around 20% of the fan base, while a larger group (around 25%) are Gator fans, plus another 15% or so are Miami Hurricanes. Plus another 20% or more are Bulls fans, and the balance are fans of college teams from all over the US, or are “dual loyalty” fans who immigrated to the Tampa Bay area and adopted one of the several state teams in addition to their own alma mater or “up north” regional loyalties.
The fact is that the Tampa Bay region is a pretty diverse region that does not belong to any particular Florida college fan base.
Aside from the character concerns, Cook also has a major fumbling problem and a bad shoulder. Mixon is a safer bet at this point.
The fact that you can even say that is hysterical, you do realize, he punched a woman right?
Cook is really talented. Too bad he didn’t have the better bloodlines, skill set, intangibles, intelligence, ball security, or work ethic. If he did, he might have gotten drafted before Christian McCaffery.
I’m sure half the guys coming into the NFL hang out with a bunch of hoodlums. 90% are from bad neighborhoods, I’m just going to hate seeing him rush for 150 and another 150 receiving against us. Then think man we could have had him on the second. Look at the OT Collins that went to Cowboys, we could have had him 3-7 rounds, that was just rumors and stories now we mixing up all offensive line
I know Licht, and company have spent a lot of time around the FSU program, probably more then any other team. Can’t question the kid’s talent, but I defer to Licht on this one. If he makes it to us in the second round no one would second guess the pick. First round, his baggage wasn’t worth the gamble. Should we pass on him at 50, no matter what backs are available, something is truely rotting in Denmark.
SR the reason you didn’t have the Bucs picking Cook in any of your mock drafts, is because you had him going before 19 just like you thought there was no way Howard would be there at 19. You are usually good with your draft picks but this year you were off your game. You had only one correct pick and that was Garret to the Browns. I’m sure you will do better with day two.
“SR the reason you didn’t have the Bucs picking Cook in any of your mock drafts, is because you had him going before 19 just like you thought there was no way Howard would be there at 19.”
That’s too funny!
Mark actually didn’t have Cook being drafted in round 1 on his last mock draft.
Im sorry not mark. IT was a different mock draft.
After last night, the one thing that I don’t have this morning is another opinion. Always love to hear what PR has to say but there are others. I’m not trying to decide which makes the most sense. Whatever the Bucs do, I’m in. Got surprised last night, won’t mind if it happens again.
As usual, I’m all over the Interwebs and here’s another opinion – not mine – but another reason why the Bucs passed on Cook and may have some bearing on what happens tonight. Whatever! You decide!
Ian Rapoport ✔ @RapSheet
One reason #Bucs passed on #FSU RB Dalvin Cook in the 1st: Source says the most impressive player thus far in training has been Doug Martin.
8:15 AM – 28 Apr 2017
I said in another post that if Dougie looks good, we won’t draft a running back first round. If anything I think we’ll draft somebody who can catch out if the backfield to challenge Sims
they said he looked good last year too 😂😂😂😂
mac – your Ian Rapoport note seems to comport with other comments from observers of the OTAs, i.e., that Doug showed up in very good physical and mental condition last week The Bucs O-line clearly missed Logan Mankins, and did not perform very well. Doug’s teammates love him, literally. He had injury issues last season, as any RB is likely to have some seasons. His PED suspension led too many critics to conclude he was done for as a Buc … as if the very same 4-game suspension made any difference in the position of Kwon Alexander. It’s very easy to run afoul of PEDs.
All that being said, Martin needs to “prove it” in training camp and pre-season to keep his job.
I can’t believe that the Bucs would pass on cook because Dougie looks good running around in shorts.
Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that “Dougie” as you call him has been a Buc for 5 years, won Offensive Rookie of the Year, and two years ago was the second most productive running back in the entire league. And maybe it has something to do with players can’t help getting injured, particularly running backs who are the most oft-injured players in football.
Oh, and maybe it also has to do with the fact that his teammates love him.
Good point cgmaster…The Bucs were probably just taking the high road. The truth is they probably hate Cook and would never take him but would rather say how much they love Martin to keep nole fans from getting their panties in a bunch.
It’s pretty surprising to hear that the Bucs wouldn’t even draft Cook in the 2nd round? I wasn’t getting such a negative vibe from PR about him until this post. Pretty interesting… I thought that he was the consensus pick for the majority of readers and there didn’t seem to be much pushback on that from PR. Was there something that came to light last night that prompted this post?
Could have just ended the article with one sentence: “Because inexplicably OJ Howard is available.”
Exactly! As much as I would have liked Cook, Howard is the better long term choice.
Love the OJ pick, go get Dalvin Cook in the 2nd round. The kid comes from a rough neighborhood and of course his friends probably aren’t model citizens but that doesn’t mean he’s had any major issues either. He needs to mature but I think Tampa and Jameis would be the perfect spot for that to happen. Send Doug and his stellar OTA somewhere else and get Dalvin!
Dalvin is lighter and slower than Martin. Also, he has bad shoulders which leads to fumbling. Also, he has questionable character which usually leads to arrests, failed drug tests, and headaches for the team. PASS.
gotta be hanging out with some really bad hombres for the Bucs not to even consider you but are considering Joe Mixon SMFH 😂😂😂😂
Who says the Bucs are considering Mixon? No one.
What prompted this piece was seeing that nobody drafted Dalvin. They want good character players. No Mixon and no Dalvin. Perine or Mack at RB. But, I would prefer they somehow move up to get Baker.
Honestly, if Martin is committed to prove himself and turn it around, they aren’t going to draft a RB at all. They invested drafting back up into the 1st to get Martin. I don’t see them giving up on him so fast.
I have no idea why Pewter Report and others keep reporting that Winston wanted Dalvin Cook. What source is this coming from? Just because a guy played at one point with another guy doesn’t mean he recommended him. For all we know, he told the staff that he’s talented, but has a lot of baggage. Sure, it’s a cute story, but there’s no basis for it.
I believe Licht said this a while ago.
There are many interviews with Winston saying he wants to be reunited with Dalvin
What else is he going to say publicly?
Doug Martin doing good at mini camp? Please! We see this from Doug every other year. He’s good one year, injured, or something else the next. He seems to always try a little harder when his job is on the line. Whether it’s from being on the hot seat, or in a contract year, he will show up in shape and try a little harder. Then the next year he disappears. He is just here to collect a paycheck. A championship is probably not in the forefront of his mind. It’s time to renegotiate Martin’s contract and demote him down the depth chart and go get a good hungry young RB in the second who can play all three downs. May as well get rid of Sims too, and go get Cook, or Mixon who can do it all. Preferably Cook.
I think Mixon just made a bad decision. I’ve listened to some of his interviews and he sounds pretty sincere about his mistake and is remorseful. To me, that says a lot. He is a top 5 RB talent, and can do it all like Cook. We all have fallen short in life, and we all need forgiveness.
I never heard anything negative about Cook while he was playing at FSU, shouldn’t people be a little skeptical about all of this coming out now at the draft? Sounds like someone is tainting this kid’s reputation trying to get him to fall. This is where most of the negative press comes from that just happens to come out on draft Day. Some people don’t have a choice of where they grow up. And if you never made any friends in your own hood growing up, then you got other problems. Wasn’t this the same reported issue with Deshaun Jackson at one time?
At the end of the day, I trust Licht and company. I know they will make the right moves, and get the right guys. If it isn’t either of these two guys, then I will know that they knew something that most of us didn’t.
That running backs in the league today suffer inconsistencies from season to season due to debilitating or season ending injuries is the norm in the NFL, not the exception.
The most celebrated running back of the last decade, Mr. Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch himself, had up and down seasons due to injury.
Lynch’s first two seasons he ran for 1,115 yards and 1,036 yds, respectively. Then his third season he only got 450 yards (about the same as Martin last season) due to injury. His fourth season Lynch only rushed 737 yards (on two teams due to a trade). Then his fifth through eight seasons he averaged over 1,330 yards a season for Seattle … but then again in his ninth he only ran for 417 yards, again due to injury.
Ditto with the other great running back of our era, Adrian Peterson. He had seven great seasons averaging over 1,440 yards a season (but varying considerably, from a high of over 2,000 yards to less than 1,000 yards). Then in his next three seasons, two were injury shortened wherein he ran less than a hundred yards per season.
Demarco Murray is another one of the recent star running backs in the league .. over his six years in the league to date, he’s varied from a high of 1,845 yards to a low of 663 yards a season.
It’s the nature of the beast for running backs to suffer huge variances in production, usually due to injury. Dalvin Cook will be subject to the same injuries and performance variances as any other back.
That’s why they don’t usually make great first round picks, and why prevailing salaries for quality veteran running backs tend to be much less than quality veteran receivers.
Good points Naples! Let some other team draft Cook. Better players will be there at 50. Bucs can grab competition for Sims and Barber in the 3rd round or later.
I’ve never bee a big fan of Marshawn, and what you didn’t mention is the horrible YPC Martin has compared to the guys you mentioned. Sure injuries are a fact life for a RB, but it’s still cheaper to get a young stud in the first round playing for rookie contract then to pay a player with some mileage a kings ransom for a couple of years. With Le’Veon Bell maybe being the exception.
These teams are crazy. Someone is going to take him in the second round and get the steal of draft
Scott…is it possible that management thinks he would be a more complementary back, like Warrick Dunn was? He doesn’t seem as fast as WD, and don’t know if he can turn the corner in the pros as well as Warrick did, and in addition to that, with his injuries, wouldn’t likely hold up well inside. He may be one of those guys that is great in college where the guys are a step or two slower, and not as strong, but I think he is more of a Reggie Bush kind of back, though not as fast as Reggie, but tougher.
Whoever the Bucs best rated player might be; I’m all in. As to Cook, somebody is going to get a heck of a player and will be happy they chose him. FSU RB’s have done pretty good in the NFL. Go Bucs
Cook has the look of a Cincinnati Bengal or Cleveland Brown.
This is silly. I’m booking it right now, unless they found something horrible out, there is ZERO chance the bucs pass on cook if he’s there when they pick in the second. You know why they did yesterday, because OJ Howard was staring him in the face! No one thought that would be possible. No one drafted cook afterwards because no one needed a running back. He’ll be gone in the first 5 picks today and someone will get a steal.
As for the Dougie looking good post, who cares? He always looks good running around in shorts. Wait till he gets a hang nail the first week he gets back and goes on IR. Doug is done to me and we have to draft a RB in today’s draft. I think we go defense in the second, maybe Willis if he keeps falling, and then RB in round 3. But tnen you’re really going to miss out on WR. Tough choices, but good choices we have left.
You have a point…. Green Bay desperately needs RB help. If he is held in regard by them that you do, he should be the first pick this evening. We will see.
I don’t think the Bucs taking OJ Howard, a top 10 player and the best TE in the draft is some reflection in itself that the Bucs hate Dalvin Cook and want nothing to do with him even in Rd 2. I do think that the concerns about Dalvin Cook off the field are legitimate and obviously the reason why he is still available today but I would be a bit shocked if the Bucs watched him fall into their lap at 50 and took someone else, but we’ll have to see.
I could care less about “character.” When the Redskibs signed DJax the big news was him flashing a gang sign in a pic. I could care less. He played well in Washington and will do the same here.
That said, Howard available at 19 was a no-brainer.
(Fat finger syndrome)
The best ability, is availability. Doug won’t be available till week four. Don’t care how he looks now, he’s going to miss almost the whole first quarter of the season. With a draft loaded with better options tonight, and tomorrow, that will be Doug’s undoing.
If Martin is “undone” it will be by his own performance in OTAs, training camp, and the preseason games. Not because of any other player whom the Bucs will likely draft at the running back position.
Martin’s performance will ultimately decide whether we take a RB in round 2 or 3. If he’s impressive, we will probably wait till the 3rd. If the coaching staff still isn’t convinced, we probably take one in the 2nd.
I am a FSU FAN! but not drafting Cook was the right choice. As I have said before he is DAMAGED GOODS!! I will be very surprised if he play’s all 16 games in any season.
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