Well, it appears Bo Callahan has struck again. For those of you who were fortunate enough to delight your eyes and gift your brain with the cinematic wondrous film of Draft Day (sarcasm engaged), then you are all well aware of the conundrum Kevin Costner (Cleveland Brown's fictional GM) endured in struggling to decide upon selecting the film's "can't-miss" top ranked quarterback, Bo Callahan, who suffered from problematic personality issues with a hint of douchebaggery-like tendencies.
So, why bring up Bo Callahan? Well, Michigan State's quarterback Connor Cook is still snubbing people of importance, and this time it is Phil Savage and the Senior Bowl.
In not too surprising news this past weekend, Cook turned down his invitation to the 2016 Senior Bowl. A disappointing decision for sure, but a decision I don't believe anyone is surprised or completely shocked about. In fact, a few might view Cook actually accepting Phil Savage's invite, shocking.
Now, I know it is a bit of a stretch to associate Cook with Callahan, but with all the "negative" smoke filtering the air and questionable leadership and serious concerns of off-field issue flagged from team scouts pertaining to Cook, well, how can one not fathom a somewhat similar disposition to Callahan. Moreover, you know what they say when there's smoke there's fire.
Undoubtedly a legend to many Michigan State Spartans' fans, Cook leaves the program with a winning percentage of .872 and a record of 34-5. It is unfortunate for Cook to decline the invitation, and ultimately, a tremendous missed opportunity losing out from learning under the tutelage of NFL coaching and the networking possibilities from NFL teams' brass and members of scouting departments. An opportunity to dispel the "holier than thou" complex and prove to the naysayers of importance, being a team player and humbling oneself, displaying the leadership qualities NFL teams covet out of their starting quarterback.
But with all bad decisions made, some good comes out of it with Arkansas' quarterback Brandon Allen taking Cook's spot on the Senior Bowl roster. Nevertheless, focusing our attention on Cook, I have put together my thoughts on Connor Cook the draft prospect.
QB Connor Cook, No. 18, 6'4 - 220 lbs., 4.89 40 - (1st-2nd)
2015 season stats: 229/408 with a 56.1% completion percentage, 3,131 yards, and a 24/7 touchdown to interception ratio.
Connor Cook showcases great size (6'4" - 220 lbs.), arm strength with a quick release, decent mobility (sneaky athleticism), and good footwork in the pocket. His accuracy from within the pocket is impressive (when he is on point), adept at reading the entire field and making all NFL level throws, showing off pinpoint accuracy in tight windows and some beautiful throws over-the-top reminiscent of snowflakes falling from the sky. He shows the tenacity and toughness in taking hits, but also possesses the escapability to extend plays and make throws on the run. Very intelligent prospect with great vision and experience operating in a pro-style system.
The problem is inconsistency with Cook, where he has severely suffered from accuracy and ball placement issues making head-scratching throws on a consistent basis. When Cook ventures outside of the pocket, he has a tendency to forgo mechanics by failing to set his feet resulting in off-balanced throws with sporadic accuracy. He struggles with inside pressure and when the pocket starts to collapse, his eyes come down, wide-eyed ensues, and jitteriness takes form. The loss of poise under pressure results in very poor bone-head type decisions. However, he does show the grit to shake off mistakes taking advantage of a short-term memory quarterbacks are required to have at the next level.
Lastly, Cook also has questionable leadership qualities with several scouts having serious concerns about him off the field, such as not being voted team captain, the trophy ceremony fiasco alluded to earlier, some people in town that weren't Cook's biggest fans; therefore, is he socially awkward, or an arrogant-pompous-snobby-obnoxious-jerk potentially rubbing teammates and coaches the wrong way.
Likely the most pro-ready quarterback in this class, Connor Cook made a wise decision to forgo the 2015 Draft and remain in school. His capacity to improve each year should bode well for him entering into the NFL. If he can clean up some mechanic issues, work on the accuracy in and outside of the pocket, and improve his decision making, he should solidify himself as a first to second round pick entering the 2016 Draft. Cook might not become an elite NFL talent, but will be a solid quality starting quarterback excelling when operating from a clean pocket. The question is, did any of his teammates attend his birthday party?