Chiefs roster: Can Kenny Cook make the Cut?


The last in a series of undrafted prospects believed to have the opportunity to make the Kansas City Chiefs 53-man roster belongs to Kenny Cook, the wide receiver from Gardner Webb. The small-school prospect has the opportunity to stand out on a team without many settled jobs at the receiver position, but will he make the cut? We look at his odds here.

Before touching on his on-field chances, it should be noted, and not taken lightly, that Cook is a cancer survivor. In the summer of 2007, prior to his sophomore year of high school, Cook was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the same disease Chiefs safety Eric Berry is currently fighting.  Though he missed his sophomore year of high-school football, he was healthy enough to return to play basketball the following January.

The first thing you notice about Cook is his size, something he has in abundance. Standing just a shade over 6-foot-3 and tipping the scales at 210 pounds, he’s a physical beast. Not only is he big, but he plays to his size. He shows an ability to high point and fight for the football in the air, which was rather easy to find on film based on what can only be described as consistently inconsistent quarterback play. Rarely is the ball where a receiver would prefer it, forcing Cook to turn, angle and jump for passes. He shows an ability and willingness to fight for the ball in traffic, and the hand strength to come down with the ball.

Cook shows the ability to wiggle, break a tackle or two, and get down field. Is he a blazer? No. That is something we’ll discuss a bit later, but he shows an ability to get up the field. It’s a bit difficult to determine just how much wiggle Cook possess as he’s playing against a lower level of competition. Had Cook played at an Oregon State or a Maryland, would have have been able to break tackles? Regardless of the level of competition, Cook displays a knack for getting up field, and getting what yards he can.

The most worrisome aspect of Cook’s game and potential is his speed. He simply is not fast. For comparison’s sake, let’s look at Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce, 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, ran a 40-yard dash at 4.6 seconds. His 20-yard split was 2.7 seconds, and his three-cone number was 7.0.

We obviously know what the 40-yard dash measures. The 20=yard split helps determine a players ability to hold and build on their initial burst. Kelce, as we’ve all seen, is a beast once he gets going, especially in the open field. For those who don’t know, a three-cone measurement helps determine lateral quickness and change of direction. That is obviously an important measure for a receiver.

Cook posted a 4.6 40-time,  a 2.68 20-yard, and a 7.13 three-cone. In laymen’s terms, as a receiver, Cook posted similar if not worse numbers for quickness and speed then Kelce did at the same events (college pro day). Obviously, Cook isn’t going to be a guy you count on downfield. In essence, watching Cook play receiver at Gardner Webb, almost feels like watching Kelce in the slot, which, to a degree, is what I see for Cook down the road.

My other concern, and this is really a blanket concern, is the level of competition. It’s well and good watching a kid make plays against lower-level competition, but it’s very difficult to imagine just how a player will react and compete against bigger and faster competition. Can Cook compete at the higher level. There is no evidence that Cook won’t be able to at least compete for an opportunity with the Chiefs.

In summation, I believe Cook will be a fringe roster guy who will ultimately end up on the practice squad for the season. He’s a guy who could replace Jason Avant on the roster next season, and be a nice short range, big-bodied option for the offense.

Just believe that the depth above him, along with the two receivers drafted above him, Chris Conley from Georgia and Da’Ron Brown from Northern Illinois, will have greater opportunities of making the roster. I do however see an opportunity for Cook down the road with the Chiefs, especially next season, but just not this season. However, if Cook out-performs Brown and other guys, Cook will earn a roster spot.