Dalvin Cook is often mocked to the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round but there’s some actual sparks flying between Cook and the Buccaneers as the draft approaches.
As the 2017 NFL Draft approaches, there will be an equal mix of smoke that points to real fires and smokes intended to screen accurate information. In the case of the latest news from Anthony “Booger” McFarland, the former NFL player turned ESPN analyst, it’s impossible to tell at this point whether or not Dalvin Cook to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has any real traction, but it’s a marriage that makes sense on several levels.
First of all, Cook is a product of the region having attended Florida State University. Staying close to home would be a boom for any player and his family/friends, but it could be a nice move on the part of the Bucs as well, given that Cook’s south Florida fan base would likely deliver a nice boost in the stands and merch sales.
In addition, the Bucs definitely have a need for another playmaker in the backfield given the lack of production last year from Doug Martin, who set career-lows in a number of categories. Martin averaged a scant 2.9 yards/carry and had only 421 total rushing yards the season after signing a hefty contract extension. Martin was also suspended 4 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Not only would adding Cook provide a dynamic weapon on offense around a unit that can already move the chains, but it would give the Bucs an instant answer to a growing headache in the production and salary cap number brought on by Martin. It might be hard to admit a mistake just one year after signing him to an extension, but the NFL’s best teams are able to move on from dead weight—even when its of their own making.
For the Bucs to get Cook, they would most certainly have to think about taking him at No. 19 overall in the first round. Leonard Fournette is often mentioned as a top 10 pick, and even Christian McCaffrey has been mentioned as a potential grab for the Carolina Panthers at No. 8. If two of the top RBs are already gone within the first 10 picks, there’s little chance that Cook, who would likely be next off the board, would last the length of the first round and then some to get all the way to the Bucs a second time.