2016 NFL Draft: early look at Michigan State’s Connor Cook


Michigan State’s Connor Cook is a live-armed quarterback who a bright future in the NFL. He has had a winning and productive career at Michigan State while showing tons of promise. His decision to return to school for another year was a smart one as it allows him to clean up some of his flaws.

Cook features a strong arm that helps him generate zip to all levels of the field. He can hit the sideline route from the opposite hash mark and squeeze the ball into tight coverage. As shown in the clip below, Cook not only has the arm strength to attack deep but also the touch and accuracy:

He routinely delivers a catchable bucket throw where his receivers can catch the ball on the run. His willingness and effectiveness stretching the field opens things for the running game and underneath passing game.

Cook plays with balance and poise in the pocket showing the awareness to step up to avoid the rush. He’s a good athlete capable of buying time and even picking up yards with his feet. However, his tendency to throw flat footed and fade off his throws is an issue.

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Too often, he leaves his shoulder open when throwing the ball rather than squaring his body towards the target. This has a negative impact on his accuracy and ball placement. Cook has good arm strength, but the ball has a tendency to sail on him because he fails to step into his throw.

The below clip is an example of how the ball sails on Cook due to his poor deliver (the video gets a little cutoff so you need to actually click on the video to get the full view):

This issue is correctable and is likely one of the areas he’s working on this offseason. It’s easy to look past this problem thanks to Cook’s other skills.

Michigan State runs a conservative, but pro-style, offense that gives Cook plenty of chances to make NFL throws. He knows how to work from under center and take advantage of play-action. The fact he doesn’t heavily rely on his feet or the wide-receiver to move the chains is important.

Cook is among several quarterbacks in the mix to be the first off the board in next year’s draft. His athleticism, arm strength and deep accuracy are the skills that standout.