Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan State Spartans coach Mark Dantonio (left) and quarterback Connor Cook (18) hoist the Leishman Trophy after the 100th Rose Bowl against the Stanford Cardinal. Michigan State defeated Stanford 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2015 NFL Draft: Is Connor Cook Ready to Rise?

Fresh off leading Michigan State to a Rose Bowl title, junior quarterback Connor Cook has his sights set on the 2015 NFL draft.  How high can he go?

Cook and Tony Lippett carve up Jacksonville State

Michigan State has the calling card of being a defensive team.  That means their offense is gearing around controlling the clock and running the football, so it’s hard for a quarterback to get noticed in it.  Cook was really a forgotten contributor most of 2013 before he made some huge plays against Ohio State to get the Spartans to the Rose Bowl.  At 6’4″ he has ideal quarterback height, has good enough mobility to keep plays alive and the arm strength to make almost any throw in the playbook.  His biggest question marks involved mechanical issues like footwork and ball placement that led to poor accuracy.  Has he shown any early signs of improvement?

Based on his first game against Jacksonville State, that is an emphatic yes.  With help from big wide receiver Tony Lippett, Cook threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns on opening day.  The key that shows the improvement however is that he only threw 13 passes in four quarters, completing 12 of them.  Also evident in his growth is the ability to throw under pressure.  His first touchdown pass came as a defender was barreling down on him and hit him hard in the knees that took him out of the game for a stretch.  Then he returned after shaking it off and threw another touchdown on the first play back.

Connor Cook wasn’t a name at the top of the 2015 NFL draft list when the year started.  He will be before it’s over if he stays healthy.

Tags: 2015 Nfl Draft Connor Cook Michigan State Tony Lippett

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