Cook's anticipation and feel for gaps is a strong asset.
Cook has very good vision overall and can see gaps and holes develop quickly. He also has good vision in the open field and can make defenders miss with ease thanks to his ability to feel where defenders are.
Sharp steps and high rate of foot fire allow for path adjustments.
Cook has excellent footwork. He is a short strider and because of that, his feet are always underneath him so he can quickly make cuts and plant his foot. His feet are active and fiery and always move upon contact. He seamlessly strings moves together and has very little wasted movements when he changes direction.
Passing Down Skills
A true mismatch weapon in the passing game.
Passing Down Skills
Cook’s ability as a receiver is excellent. He runs excellent routes both out of the backfield and split out as a receiver. He is sudden with his movements and quick in and out of his breaks. He catches the ball cleanly and can track the ball over his shoulder. A willing blocker in pass protection, Cook struggles when forced to anchor down but the effort is there.
Georgia’s James Cook is yet another Bulldogs running back who looks to make an impact at the next level. He’s the brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and they share similarities in their running style. Cook has been a change of pace back for much of his career and he finally got an extended role this season as a senior and definitely made the most of his opportunities.
Cook is a good-sized running back with very good overall athleticism. He plays primarily on third downs and in passing situations but is used in a variety of ways. As a runner, Cook is patient to and through the hole, understanding how to set up blocks, and then has the quickness to bounce off his blockers. He is a smooth runner who can seamlessly make cuts and make people miss without ever breaking stride. He has good overall vision and takes what’s there. He isn’t the most physical back and won’t break many tackles. He lacks top-end speed to take it the distance and also doesn’t display consistent power.
Where Cook really helps himself is as a receiver. He is excellent as a receiver, having the ability to catch passes out of the backfield, the slot, or out wide. He runs excellent routes and has good body quickness to separate. He displays very good hands and can make catches outside of his frame. His ability to catch the ball naturally will allow offenses to get creative with how they deploy him. Cook projects as a change of pace back who can be a productive starter if necessary but is best used as a third-down option with mismatch possibilities.
Ideal Role: Change of pace and pass-catching back.
Scheme Fit: Zone scheme.
Written by Brentley Weissman
Games watched: Clemson (2021), Alabama (2021) Tennessee (2021)
Best Game Studied: Tennessee (2021)
Worst Game Studied: Clemson (2021)
Vision: See Above.
Footwork: See Above.
Contact Balance: Cook showcases above average contact balance even though he isn’t the biggest or strong back. He runs square, beneath his pads, and has good leg drive. More slippery than physical, defenders have a hard time grabbing him upon contact—resulting in a ton of missed tackles. Cook lacks strength and size, so he doesn’t break a ton of tackles when the defender can square him up.
Durability: With only 218 overall carries over his four-year career, there isn’t a ton of wear and tear on his tires. That being said, he has dealt with injuries in his career, having ankle surgery in 2019 and missing time with a hand injury in 2020. Given the fact that he has never carried a full load, his durability remains a question mark.
Explosiveness: Cook is more smooth than explosive but he does show good short-area quickness and burst. He is a one-speed runner who lacks that top-end gear to take it to the house. Because of his smooth running style, Cook is able to make defenders miss without slowing down, but he certainly isn’t an explosive runner.
Versatility: Cook was used as a chess piece in the Georgia offense all season. He takes carries from the backfield like a traditional back. He lines up in the slot/wing and is used heavily on jet sweeps. Cook is also utilized heavily as a receiver both out of the backfield and split out wide. He is a true mismatch who can align in a variety of roles.
Elusiveness: A slippery runner, Cook is extremely elusive with the ball in his hands. Because he lacks size, he easily can tuck behind his offensive linemen while he works his way upfield. Additionally, Cook runs low to the ground, allowing him to have a small target and can make defenders miss with side steps, jump cuts, or spins. He is a hard runner to bring down and locate.
Ball Security: Cook has very good ball security—he did not fumble at all in 2021. He tucks the ball high and keeps two hands on the ball when running through traffic. He is a reliable ball-carrier who you can trust.
Passing Down Skills: See Above.
Discipline: Cook is a very disciplined runner who is excellent at waiting for his blocks to set up. He never presses too eagerly and will stall until the very last minute when the hole opens up. He doesn’t try to make the big play consistently, but rather smartly gets what the defense gives him.
TDN Consensus: 75.75/100 (Third Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 76.50/100
Marino Grade: 75.50/100
Harris Grade: 74.00/100
Sanchez Grade: 74.50/100
Weissman Grade: 79.00/100
Parson Grade: 74.50/100