After all, that is as a result of his lifelong dream of constructing it to the NFL got here to fruition. But it surely is also secretly as a result of he will get to affix a well-rounded roster that’s poised to compete for a championship proper now.
Both manner, the 22-year-old halfback can be a welcome addition to a Payments passing assault that consists of an elite quarterback in Josh Allen and a prime 5 receiver in Stephen Diggs. Whereas there are causes for intrigue within the Payments’ star-studded offense, one of many actual query marks on that facet of the ball is having a operating again who supplies some juice and power as a receiver, which is the place Cook dinner excels.
James Cook dinner: Receiving Stats and Rank (Amongst PFF’s TOP 2022 NFL DRAFT RUNNING BACKS)
|PFF Receiving Grade||83.4||4th of 33|
|Yards per route run||1.63||4th of 33|
|Yards per reception||10.2||2nd of 33|
|Passer Score when Focused||134.3||2nd of 33|
Cook dinner brings a ability set to the Payments offense that wasn’t there earlier than. His athleticism and pure instincts will give Allen a brand new weapon that he hasn’t but had in his profession.
He cut up touches final season in a crowded Georgia backfield however actually established himself as a easy, agile operating again with fluid route-running means within the Bulldogs offense. He operated as a shifty scatback who might generate bursts of velocity and achieve big chunks of yards with ease.
“We really feel he is sort of like a large receiver in his personal manner,” normal supervisor Brandon Beane stated in the course of the draft. “This was a man that basically stood out to us with the ball in his arms. You possibly can cut up him out. He can run routes much like a receiver.”
Getting an explosive operating again within the draft was essential for Buffalo, particularly after the JD McKissic deal fell aside in free company. McKissic agreed to a two-year take care of the Payments in March earlier than backtracking and finally re-signing with the Washington Commanders.
So, the Payments drafted Cook dinner.
“We see his greatest ability set as a sub again,” Beane stated. “We actually favored his ability set, once more, much like the one we noticed with McKissic — a man that is obtained actually good arms, very instinctive within the move recreation. You possibly can run all kinds of men out in routes. A few of them cannot do it, however some guys simply have the texture like a slot receiver. It is the texture of what you are getting whether or not to sit down down in a zone or run by your man.”
Beane additionally added that he noticed Georgia play reside twice final season and that you may “really feel his velocity with the ball in his arms.”
PFF’s Mike Renner Had Cook dinner because the fourth-best operating again within the 2022 class and the one hundred and first greatest participant on PFF’s huge board. The Georgia product ran for 1,012 scrimmage yards, 11 touchdowns and 23 explosive performs in 2021. He additionally proved to be an elusive ball service, forcing 31 damaged tackles and averaging 0.22 missed tackles per rush try final season. And even after exhibiting his electrical play velocity in faculty, the 6-foot, 204-pound Cook dinner ran a 4.42 40-yard sprint and a 1.54 second 10-yard cut up on the scouting mix.
On prime of his velocity, Cook dinner displayed a few of the most dependable arms amongst operating backs in faculty soccer. He dropped simply certainly one of his 68 catchable targets over his profession and solely fumbled as soon as on 254 whole touches the previous three seasons. Georgia quarterbacks posted a 144.3 passer score when focusing on him final season.
The Payments’ tailbacks have not been a reliable possibility within the passing recreation. That turned very obvious final season, as they mixed to earn the third-lowest receiving grade (43.9) within the NFL. Devin Singletary, the crew’s major again, ranked final among the many 50 operating backs who performed 125 receiving snaps final season (39.7). Cook dinner, then again, completed his senior season with a top-eight receiving grade within the FBS (83.4). Singletary and Zack Moss additionally mixed for six drops and 5 fumbles this previous yr.
Buffalo Invoice’s Operating Backs: Receiving Stats and Rank Amongst 32 Groups
|targets||87||T-Twenty fifth of 32|
|reception||70||twenty sixth of 32|
|yards||497||twenty fourth of 32|
|Yards Per Reception||7.1||18th of 32|
|Yards After the Catch Per Reception||7.3||T-Twentieth of 32|
|Passer Score When Focused||91.4||twenty second of 32|
|PFF Receiving Grade||43.9||thirtieth of 32|
It is not simply Cook dinner’s arms that make him a quarterback’s security blanket, however it’s additionally his downhill velocity and big-play means after the catch. He averaged over 10 yards per reception and eight.6 yards after the catch per reception final season.
Buffalo might use somebody to take the stress off Allen’s arm, as their pass-catchers mixed to rank useless final in yards after the catch per reception (4.3) in 2021. The Payments’ franchise quarterback recorded the sixth-highest common depth of goal ( 9.0) this previous season whereas additionally making an attempt the second-most passes past 10 yards (223). It is nearly been a hindrance at occasions due to his reluctance to make throws beneath.
Allen had the lowest check-down fee throughout his first two seasons within the NFL, solely throwing 20 on 880 whole move makes an attempt (2.3%). Since 2020, his checkdown fee has doubled to 4.6%, however that also ranks bottom-five within the league over that span. Cook dinner now turns into a viable, quick-pass possibility for Allen when the pocket breaks down or when the designed performs downfield aren’t open.
“We thought he’d be an incredible match for Josh,” Beane stated. “We discuss RAC [run after catch] and we discuss it quite a lot of occasions with receivers greater than operating backs. However this man is a RAC participant for Josh. Get the ball in his arms and make a man miss after which he is obtained the wheels to take all of it the best way.”
There’s additionally loads of room for progress for Cook dinner in Buffalo with Singletary coming into the ultimate yr of his rookie deal in 2022. Moss, who has two years left on his contract, had a disappointing sophomore marketing campaign and will fall out of the backfield rotation after the addition of one other tailback.
Plus, Buffalo might use some low cost however efficient ability place gamers on the roster with Allen’s profitable six-year, $258-million contract beginning in 2023.
With the expiring contracts, the Payments have the chance to probably develop Cook dinner right into a three-down again for 2023 and years to come back. Regardless, they discovered themselves an ideal piece to their offensive scheme for subsequent season as a authentic menace on passing downs with the opportunity of him changing into extra concerned within the run recreation down the street.