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Buccaneers NFL Draft Target: Georgia Running Back, James Cook

Could the Miami native land in Tampa Bay?

Georgia Spring Game Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

While the position appears to have a lot of depth, a team can never have too much depth so the Buccaneers could be looking to add another talent back to their already crowded running back room in this year’s draft.

That leads us to our latest draft profile, Georgie running back James Cook.

JAMES COOK’S COLLEGIATE CAREER

Cook is the brother of Minnesota Vikings star running back, Dalvin Cook. James Cook was a four star recruit when he headed to play for the bulldogs. His freshman year he would serve a role as a backup. During his sophomore and junior seasons, he would not make much of an impact on the ground, but he provided real value in the passing game, having 16 catches in each season and having over 200 receiving yards in his junior year while also catching two touchdowns.

It was not until Cook’s senior season that he really got an opportunity to carry the ball out of the backfield and he did not disappoint, piling up over 700 rushing yards on 113 carries as well as seven rushing touchdowns. He would also continue to be a good pass catching option, having 27 receptions for 284 yards and four receiving touchdowns. Cook would also have zero dropped passes and zero fumbles in 2021. Certainly a consistent player for Georgia.

PRO DAY AND SCOUTING COMBINE

Cook only participated in a few drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he was able to impress with a 4.42 40 yard dash time. He also recorded a 33 inch vertical and a 124 inch broad jump.

Cook would participate in wide receiver drills at his pro day, showing off his already impressive ability to catch the football.

WHAT COOK CAN DO FOR THE BUCS IN 2022

With the re-signings of Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard, Cook would likely not see much playing time in 2022, but that does not mean he wouldn’t have value to the team. Should a back go down with injury, Cook could step in and be productive. He could also be used on 3rd downs when Fournette and Bernard need a break. Cook’s pass catching is talked about often, but his pass blocking ability is something that is not talked about enough. He is going to be an asset to NFL teams on 3rd down this season.

THREE YEAR OUTLOOK

Three years from now, there could be a real chance for Cook to be the exclusive option for Tampa Bay on 3rd downs. His versatility could also allow offensive coordinators to line him up at receiver and get value from him that way. Fournette is signed for three seasons, so Cook could be in for a big role in the Bucs offense down the line, even if it is not an immediate impact in 2022.

STOCK REPORT

Cook’s stock has consistently remained in the 2nd-3rd round range. He is still expected to go off the board sometime on day two and it is well deserved. This is not the strongest running back class, but Cook has shined on multiple different occasions for Georgia and there is no reason to think he can’t do that at the NFL level as well. The Draft Network has Cook with a 3rd round grade and many of their analysts agree with that grade.

ON THE CLOCK...

It is now time to make the decision. Would you draft James Cook and add him to an already talented backfield? Or do you think the Bucs should look elsewhere in the draft?

Let us know in the comment section and poll below!

Poll

The Buccaneers should target James Cook in the NFL Draft...

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    As Projected (2nd/3rd round)
    (95 votes)
  • 6%
    Early (Trade up in the 2nd)
    (11 votes)
  • 35%
    Late (See if he’s there in the 4th)
    (58 votes)
  • 0%
    Never. He shouldn’t be on their board
    (1 vote)
165 votes total Vote Now