James Cook Scouting Report


NAME: James Cook 


SCHOOL: Georgia 

HEIGHT: 5’11” 

WEIGHT: 199 lbs

CLASS: Senior 


DOB: 9/25/1999 

GAMES WATCHED: 2020 – Alabama, Florida; 2021 – Clemson, Tennessee, Alabama

A 5 star recruit out of Miami Central High School and the younger brother of Vikings All-Pro RB Dalvin Cook, James Cook has always had large expectations placed upon him. While he may not have put up the type of eye-popping numbers his big brother did, James did have himself quite the successful college career. He initially planned to take his talents to Tallahassee and follow in Dalvin’s footsteps, but instead opted to head to Athens, Georgia to forge his own path. It’s not often that a player who never led his backfield in carries is the best pro prospect in the room, but don’t let the lack of production fool you – James got game. With less than 300 career touches during his tenure as a Bulldog, one could argue he was criminally underutilized. He primarily played the role of third down back, as Georgia seemed to prefer to use more powerful runners on early downs. In the transfer portal era, it would’ve been easy for him to switch schools to be the lead back somewhere else, but he stuck it out at Georgia and remained a key cog in one of the best stable of running backs in college football. His patience and commitment were rewarded with a national championship. 


In the ever-evolving football world, versatility is more important than it’s ever been. Luckily for Cook, his game is all about versatility. Georgia used him everywhere – in the backfield, in the slot, and even lined up out wide. He’s one of the best pass catching backs in his class, regularly displaying soft hands and above average route running ability. James is a legit chess piece who is a walking mismatch when matched up against linebackers. On several occasions he’s lined up as the Z receiver in his offense and won vertically when challenged by lesser athletes.  

In the run game Cook has shown impressive vision, as he’s quick to identify holes and is terrific at getting skinny and finding cutback lanes. He displays patience and good feet while allowing blocks to develop for him. Highly successful on his runs to the outside, where he stretches horizontally before picking his spot and moving upfield. Works well in space where he can show off his athleticism and creativity, making him a dangerous weapon in the screen game and complimenting his strengths as a receiver very well. Not a freak athlete, but a very good one who has the requisite long speed to make chunk plays. Excellent ball security and zero fumbles his senior year. Experience as a return man early in his career. 


Smaller build for a running back in the NFL. Not much of a power element to his game. Needs to improve as an inside runner to help answer questions about his future role. While his contact balance is very good, it’s worth noting that there are several occasions where he was a shoestring tackle away from breaking off for a huge gain. Hasn’t shown he’s able to sustain a full season’s worth of carries for a starting back, although that’s more a result of being part of a crowded RB room. Despite not ever handling a full workload, he suffered an ankle injury in 2019 that required surgery and a hand injury in 2020 that caused him to miss some time. Below average (but willing) blocker in pass protection.


Creativity – 60/80

Vision – 65/80 

Contact Balance – 55/80 

Pass Catching – 75/80 

Long Speed – 60/80 

Power – 40/80 

Explosiveness – 65/80 

Blocking – 40/80 

Durability – 60/80 

Ball Security – 75/80 

Final Grade: 7.49 (High 3rd Round) 


While evaluating James Cook, one word kept coming to mind – smooth. He’s a smooth operator who runs hard and wastes little movement in his actions. James’s skillset seems to match up perfectly with where the game of football is heading. He has the ability to be a starting third down back from day one of his rookie season. Wherever he’s drafted, the coaching staff must take full advantage of his receiving skillset for him to reach his full potential. A good offensive mind will be able to move him around the formation and exploit mismatches on the opposing defense. There are some questions about his role in the backfield on early downs, but the tools are there for him to develop into a complete player. Even if he never makes those strides, he has a floor as an offensive weapon who can bring a valuable toolset to any offense. James Cook is the kind of player that every football team needs one of. While he had a successful stint at UGA, I believe he’s going to be a much more productive professional player and that his best football is in front of him. Expect the young man’s name called sometime during day two on the NFL Draft.

Follow Kenny on Twitter @Gritz_Blitz.

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