Florida State University

Miami Central legend Dalvin Cook a first-round snub

Michigan safety Delano Hill, right, attempting to stop Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, left, during the first half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Michigan safety Delano Hill, right, attempting to stop Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, left, during the first half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game in Miami Gardens, Fla. AP

He was compared to Marshall Faulk, Le’Veon Bell, Edgerrin James, and Chris Johnson.

But on Thursday, Dalvin Cook wasn’t among the prospects taken in the first-round of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia. He was sitting with his family in Miami and will likely be among Friday’s second day picks. Cook finished his Florida State career with 145 rushing yards and a touchdown, earning Orange Bowl MVP in the Seminoles’ win against Michigan. The former Miami Central star is the Seminoles’ all-time leading rusher.

LSU’s Leonard Fournette was the first running back off of the draft board when the Jacksonville Jaguars picked him at No. 4. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey skipped over Cook again at pick No. 8 by the Carolina Panthers.

Despite seven of the first 10 players selected being offensive skill positions, Cook waited. The Seminoles previously had a first round selection in every NFL draft since 2012 and 35 first-rounders since 1990. None were drafted Thursday.

Despite those staggering stats, the Seminoles hadn’t had a running back selected in the first round since Warrick Dunn in the 1997 NFL Draft. Sammie Smith went in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft and Dexter Carter went in the first round of the 1990 draft.

NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock had Cook pegged for the No. 27 pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. Other NFL draft analysts had him going as high as pick No. 17 by the Washington Redskins.

Betty Cook, Dalvin’s grandmother who fostered him in Opa-Locka, recently told Sports Illustrated that the Philadelphia Eagles were the only NFL team to personally reach out to her. The Eagles opted for Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett at pick No. 14.

Cook tied for fifth among running backs at the NFL scouting combine with a 40-yard dash of 4.49 seconds. He later logged an unofficial times in the mid 4.4’s and low 4.5’s at his pro day in Tallahassee.

But it was his off the field stats that possibly worried league front offices most. The three-time state champion at Central had three shoulder surgeries and hamstring issues. He was acquitted of a misdemeanor battery charge in 2015, was sited for a BB gun incident in high school, and once flagged for chaining up pit bull puppies around the neck.

He scored an 11 on the Wonderlic test (the average score for running back’s is 11).

“Be specific about what you want. He had one incident at Florida State which was cleared up very quickly,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said of Cook Thursday on ESPN. “Shocked that it even went that far, because he was not a culprit in that at all.”

Florida State senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker and junior offensive tackle Roderick Johnson are expected to be third round picks Saturday. Seminoles fullback Freddie Stevenson and cornerback Marquez White are both expected to be picked Saturday in the sixth round. Seminoles guard Kareem Are is also expected to go Saturday.

Central Florida cornerback Shaquill Griffin is expected to go sometime Friday. FAU’s Trey Hendrickson and FIU’s Jonnu Smith are projected fourth round picks. FIU tackle Dieugot Joseph is expected to go in the sixth round. South Florida wide receiver Rodney Adams is also projected as a late round pick.

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