The Houston Texans need a franchise quarterback, could Michigan State’s Connor Cook be their guy in the 2016 NFL Draft?
With the 22nd pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Houston Texans may look to find their guy at the quarterback position once and for all. With big names like Paxton Lynch, Jared Goff and the recently ascending Carson Wentz looking to be gone by pick 22, could the Texans turn to a team they’re highly familiar with, the Michigan State Spartans?
Before the 2015 NFL season, the Texans official website looked at all the universities that Houston players attended, and Michigan State led the way. The most prolific being starting quarterback Brian Hoyer, but after a terrible post season performance, they may be looking to replace Hoyer.
Could it be with the most recent MSU quarterback set to hit the NFL, Connor Cook? Draft experts are all over the map on the former Spartan, some calling him a first rounder while others have him lasting until the third round of the draft.
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We decided to get the opinion of somoene who has followed the young quarterbacks entire collegiete career, Connor Muldowney of Spartan Avenue, the FanSided page dedicated to Michigan State University.
Here is what he had to say in regards to Cook’s pro prospects;
RG: What’s your general summary of the type of quarterback Connor Cook is, and is there a current NFL player you would compare his game to?
CM: Cook is definitely a pocket passer, but he’s also not afraid to scramble a bit and find an open running lane when his options are covered. He doesn’t panic in the pocket under pressure, which is ideal for a pro-style QB, and he isn’t prone to turning the ball over. His arm is relatively strong, but not overwhelmingly.
I’d probably compare Cook to Kirk Cousins. Same school, learned under Cousins as a redshirt freshman and kind of adapted to the same style of play. Calm under pressure and knows how to win.
RG: The projections for where Connor will land in the upcoming draft seem to range anywhere from Round 1 to Round 3, which of course could change based on his combine, pro day, etc. What round do you see him landing in?
CM: Before the season, I believed he was the best quarterback in the draft. Following the year, I still believe that, but the questions about his character (which are bogus, in my opinion) and his poor game in the College Football Playoff have hurt his stock a bit. I’d say he’s an early-second rounder, at the latest. If you’re looking for a franchise QB, he has the potential to be just that.
RG: If a team like Houston were to be the landing spot for Cook, how would he perform for them and is he a legit option as a starting quarterback in the NFL?
CM: I’ve believed he was NFL-ready since his sophomore season when he led MSU to the Rose Bowl and arguably the Spartans were one of the top-three teams in the nation in 2013. He followed that up by leading Michigan State’s most prolific offense ever in 2014 and he is so confident in the pocket and makes those NFL throws that leave even his own coaches in awe. If the Texans were in a position to scoop him up as a franchise QB, it would be wise. I’ve watched Cousins and Cook play at MSU, as well as Hoyer, and I believe Cook is, by far, the best of the bunch.
RG: Lastly, can you share with me your favorite moment while watching him at Michigan State?
CM: There are so many moments that I can label as my favorite moment from him whether it was him trucking over Michigan’s Delano Hill or leading the Spartans to a Rose Bowl win, but I’d have to say his comeback against Baylor in last year’s Cotton Bowl. Michigan State looked to be dead in the water, but Cook caught fire in the fourth quarter and took over the game, beating the Bears on a huge final drive and touchdown pass to Keith Mumphery.
Lastly, I’d just want to say how well he does in terms of developing a relationship with his receivers. He gets to know them on a personal level as well and the bond is so strong, it’s exactly what you look for in a starting QB. That’s one of the reasons he’s always been on the same page with his wide outs at MSU, helping to produce back-to-back Big Ten receiver of the year winners — Tony Lippett and Aaron Burbridge.
For those wondering, Cook finished his time at MSU with 9,194 yards with 71 touchdowns to just 22 picks. Also, at 6’4″ and 220 pounds he comes in with the size that scouts love, making him an interesting person to keep an eye on as the Texans look for their next quarterback.
We want to give a big thank you to Connor Muldowney for taking the time to give us his take on Connor Cook’s pro potential. For more on all things Michigan State, head over and see all the good work done by him and the rest of the crew at Spartan Avenue.