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Should the Buccaneers target Dalvin Cook in the 2017 NFL draft?

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kind of need a new running back (depending on whether Doug Martin can return, and whether they re-sign Jacquizz Rodgers), but we haven’t really heard much of Dalvin Cook in recent months.

Cook was a popular pick for Bucs fans a few months ago, as Florida State players often are, but the focus has mostly shifted to receiving weapons, especially Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. The Cook contingent is still there, but it’s not as loud.

Brett Kollmann is here to change that, as he’s leading the Cook hype train in the video above. Right now he looks somewhat unlikely to fall to the Bucs at number 19, but running backs are always difficult to pin down in draft projections.

There’s two reasons for that. One: running backs aren’t worth that much in today’s NFL. They’re somewhat fungible, they’re highly injury-prone, and it’s not that hard to get a solid but not spectacular back in free agency or later in the draft. It’s pretty common to build successful running games around free agent backs or without investing too much in the position.

Two: running backs have repeatedly busted in recent years, and the most successful ones have mostly been second- and later-round picks. Whereas backs used to be a fairly safe pick, they’re difficult to project right now. Trent Richardson being the prime evidence for that.

Both of those reasons are why I’m not high on drafting a running back in the first round, in addition to the fact that it’s not quite a priority for the Bucs — and a receiving weapon is. That could change after free agency, but I don’t think it will.

None of that has anything to do with Cook as an individual player, who looks very good indeed. Not sure he’s worth a top 20 pick, but as a player I’d certainly be excited if he joined the Bucs. That isn’t the only concern in the draft, though. And those other questions will determine whether the Bucs will want to take him.