Prospects in Bowls: Florida State Running Back Dalvin Cook

Joe Malfa with a prospect breakdown for Florida State running back Dalvin Cook

Florida State takes on Michigan at 8 p.m. in the Capital One Orange Bowl. It is one of the best games of the bowl season, and it features one of the best running back prospects. Joe Malfa takes a quick look at Florida State’s Dalvin Cook.

Dalvin Cook — 5-foot-11, 210-pounds


2014: 170 carries, 1,008 yards, 8 touchdowns; 22 catches, 203 yards

2015: 229 carries, 1,691 yards, 19 touchdowns; 24 catches, 244 yards, 1 touchdown

2016: 268 carries, 1,620 yards, 18 touchdowns; 30 catches, 426 yards, 1 touchdown


Cook does a good job of being patient and waiting for his blocks to develop. His footwork is crisp and there are no wasted steps, which allows him to make his cut and explode through the hole once it materializes.

Cook’s quickness is tremendous. He has the ability to cut on a dime, make a defender miss, turn on the jets (pun fully intended), and accelerate into the open field.

Cook has the speed to get out around the edge. Once he turns upfield, good luck catching him.

Cook will be a three down back. He is productive catching the ball out of the backfield and is a serviceable pass-blocker.


There are three main weaknesses I see in Dalvin Cook.

He is a smaller back that will not run through linemen and linebackers, but he is capable of running through defensive backs. The only problem is he does not always put his head down and make this effort. I would like to see him at least make more of an attempt to run through these smaller defensive backs.

Cook has some trouble breaking through initial contact at the line of scrimmage, which makes him less effective in short yardage situations against loaded fronts. This, unfortunately, is not really something he can fix. He is a smaller back who will continue having trouble in short-yardage situations unless he puts on more muscle.

Lastly, and this may be the most alarming of the three issues, Cook has trouble holding onto the football. He fumbled the ball 13 times in three seasons, and he actually got worse with experience. He fumbled the ball seven times through his first two seasons but six times as a junior.

Pro Comparison: Jamaal Charles

Cook may be a tenth or two slower than Charles on the stopwatch when he runs his 40-yard dash at the combine, but he is the same electric playmaker with the speed and quickness to turn a two-yard gain into a 65-yard touchdown.

Projection: 1st round pick. Maybe top-10. 2nd running back off the board behind Leonard Fournette (though I believe Cook will be the better pro).

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