Leading up to the NFL Draft many teams will continue their evaluation process on prospects while altering their draft boards in preparation for Draft day. CPGM will provide you a breakdown of two prospects matched against each other with similar draft projections to get you prepped for this year’s draft. Voting option below for your input on who you think the better prospect is.
The Matchup:In what can go down as one of the best running back classes over the last decade, the top two prospects on our draft board are Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook. All the Christian McCaffrey fans might have something to say about that and if it wasn’t for Joe Mixon’s well-known incident he would have something to say about that too. The matchup between Fournette and Cook is an interesting one as these guys have been going in the opposite direction in the evaluation process in terms of the public forum. The public opinion of Cook has him slipping down the board at a rapid pace. This all started at the NFL Combine when Cook put up underwhelming combine scores, testing sub-par athletically. His effort at the Combine coupled with injury concerns, off the field mishaps and a fumbling issue at Florida State has made many go back to put on the tape. The verdict for CPGM is the tape doesn’t lie as Cook’s vison, patience, balance and speed checks out making him a legit bonafide baller. Fournette on the other hand has gone as expected through the process; he is a stud and everyone knows it. The big, bruising back can come in immediately and bring a workhorse type back and mentality to a football team. A guy that big (6’0 240 pounds) should not be able to move that fluid and have break-away speed to go “6” on any given play. Fournette is a high-end talent who is being compared to the greatness of Adrian Peterson and Bo Jackson.
CPGM Headley’s Take: Leonard Fournette is something we don’t see quite often, a big, physical back that has underrated feet with home run speed. A player with his size/speed combination is rare and can only be compared to the likes of Bo Jackson, Adrian Peterson and Jamal Lewis. Someone that big should not be able to get skinny in holes and burst through the line of scrimmage with that amount of velocity, but Fournette gives you that and will be coveted by all the running back needy teams. However, despite all the great attributes and top end potential Fournette gives you, I believe the smaller Dalvin Cook is a better running back. The running back position has many different intricacies, which to the untrained eye go unnoticed. These intricacies are the reasons why Dalvin Cook is my number 1 running back in the class. I compare Cook the runner to guys likes Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson with his patience, vision and elusiveness when carrying the football. It’s like poetry in movement; this is why I like Cook in this matchup.
CPGM Drew’s Take: When I watch Dalvin Cook I see something special. It just looks easy and effortless. It appears from first look he is a speed back due to all the break away explosive runs he has had, but he is a back that can convert that speed to power in small confine spaces, goal line/short yardage. If he’s not running over defenders in those small spaces he’s at worst falling forward. Excellent out of the back field as a pass catcher and getting open. Cook isn’t flawless with his well documented fumbles and shoulder problems. Fournette is a power back who punishes anyone in his path to the end zone. He also has a little nimbleness to his game to not so much make defenders miss but to create angles and space to get yardage. I wonder though, can Fournette be a consistent 3 down back? Can he be that back that can get open out of the back field vs that nickel corner or LB? He wasn’t asked to do this at LSU so it’s just an unknown. This is a matchup of players: one, Cook, who can play in any system and the other, Fournette, who best fits a power running game.
NFL Comparison: Leonard Fournette – Jamal Lewis; Dalvin Cook – Chris Johnson