Each year, we like to run a series of posts called "90-in-90." The idea is that we'll take a look at every player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few ways. This roster will certainly change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not exactly 90 players in 90 days. At this point, it's a name we're keeping around for street cred.
The San Francisco 49ers signed cornerback Chris Cook to a 1-year, league minimum deal on March 14, 2014. He joined Eric Wright and Perrish Cox on similar deals, coming in to compete for any sort of opportunity in the 49ers refurbished secondary. The 49ers released Carlos Rogers, and let Tarell Brown depart in free agency.
Cook was originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the 34th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. Cook's first two years saw him get some limited action with the defense, getting 234 snaps in 2010, and 263 snaps in 2011. For comparison, the Vikings top cornerback got 1,009 snaps in 2010, and 955 snaps in 2011. In 2011, he served a suspension while going through a domestic assault trial, for which he was later found not guilty.
The last two seasons, Cook moved into a starter role, but it was an up and down time for the team. He spent two months on short term IR in 2012 with a broken arm. Beyond that he was inconsistent at best, with Pro Football Focus proclaiming he gave up the most touchdowns in their awful 2013 secondary. All in all, not exactly inspiring heading into the season.
Why he might improve:
A new system could prove huge for him. And 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell is incredibly well respected. It's still early, but with Chris Culliver not full go while getting back to 100 percent from last year's ACL injury, Cook has been handling a lot of first team work with Tramaine Brock. Cook has the physical tools, standing 6'2, and having run a 4.45 40 coming out of college. Who knows if he'll put it all together, but the hype is getting pretty strong for Cook.
Why he might regress:
He is getting first team snaps now, but if Culliver is good to go at the start of training camp, that is likely to change to some extent. One of the things he can potentially do well is execute press coverage. Once pads are on and things are getting physical in training camp and preseason action, maybe he does not perform quite as well. We can't really tell anything in that regard right now, but I do remain optimistic based on early reports.
Odds of making the roster:
The 49ers cornerback depth chart has a lot of opportunities, and a lot of question marks. The fact that he is getting first team work in OTAs has me optimistic, but not ready to sell everything I have to invest in Chris Cook stock (I'll save that for Vernon!). Heading into OTAs I was thinking Cook, Eric Wright and Perrish Cox could potentially be competing for one spot, maybe two. There might still only be one or two spots for that group, but I wonder if Cook has impressed the coaching staff enough to take the lead in any competition. Cox is looking mostly at nickel work, while Wright can do a little of both. For now all we can really rely on is this news that he is working with the first team. It certainly can't be a bad thing for him.