It’s no one’s fault that Bryan Cook’s going overlooked these days. In fact, it’s understandable that the second-round rookie safety for the Kansas City Chiefs would have to wait his turn for the spotlight. There are, after all, only so many turns in the spotlight in a given week.
Coming into the 2022 season, the Chiefs draft class was a central topic around the team, but it was also a loaded class. General manager Brett Veach entered draft weekend with 12 picks and ended up using 10 of them after also making two trades to come away with the team’s single biggest draft class since 2009. For a GM who had only ever drafted six players in each and every one of the four previous draft weekends, it was a shocking haul.
Not only were the sheer numbers stacked against Cook, but the rookies themselves were crowding him out from the beginning. The attention for any draft class can be found directed toward the top overall picks and then any sort of steals. If a player is somehow caught between those poles, then they are automatically overlooked. When you have 10 rookies, like the Chiefs, then those stories are going to be written about the first-round picks, of which there were two, and seventh-round finds, of which there were potentially three.
The emergence of rookie safety Bryan Cook as a playmaker is an overlooked story for a Kansas City Chiefs draft class that already runs deep.
It didn’t take long for the likes of cornerback Trent McDuffie and pass rusher George Karlaftis to make waves. The Chiefs have rarely held onto their own first-round picks in recent years, so it was nice to see Veach hold onto both and allow an influx of cost-controlled impact talent to enter the picture. From there, however, Veach also decided to go shopping for defensive backs far more than anyone would have predicted. Suddenly, Cook wasn’t just the second DB taken, but he was one of five.
Consider that one of those was Joshua Williams, the first player from an HBCU taken in the draft from Fayetteville State. Two more, Jaylen Watson and Nazeeh Johnson, were taken in the seventh. Suddenly Cook is just a number in the secondary. Given that he played safety and the Chiefs already had two entrenched starters, there were more interesting rookies to write about—those with greater guaranteed playing time.
Even as a second-round pick, Cook was crowded out. He was the second such pick for Veach and the first was wide receiver Skyy Moore. Moore was the first offensive pick in the draft, and the fan base was clamoring for help at wide receiver, which made him an instant favorite of many fans in Chiefs Kingdom from the outset. By the time Cook’s name was submitted on a draft card, it didn’t matter if he was among the top 60 picks in the draft or a top-flight safety. He was already fourth in line in a long weekend with several others at his general position.
Fast forward to Week 4, however, and Cook is turning heads for the first time. On Sunday, he earned more snaps than ever and took over the third safety role from Deon Bush, who was relegated to special teams duties only in Sunday’s win over the Bucs. Given more reps, Cook stepped up with a great hit on Brady on one play, a tremendous pass break-up against tight end Cameron Brate in the end zone, and five overall tackles.
Cook’s presence gives the Chiefs a significant upgrade over the likes of Dan Sorensen, who largely occupied that role for the Chiefs last season. He’s a hard-hitting presence whose toughness is going to make him a fan favorite, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is going to like the myriad ways he can employ him over time as Cook builds trust with the coaching staff.
The Chiefs were already getting healthy contributions from a number of rookies, including a game-sealing pick-six from a seventh-round corner. But Cook’s emergence in the secondary is a story that needs to be told at this point. The Chiefs’ defense is already making waves against some solid offenses and the best is maybe yet to come with greater experience.