Good news for all those Buccaneers fans anxious to see Tampa Bay take Florida State running back Dalvin Cook with its first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft next Thursday night.
The chances of Cook still being on the board when the Bucs first pick comes around at No. 19 overall appear to be increasing. The bad news is they’re increasing for all the wrong reasons.
According, to NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, Cook “has taken on some water’’ and is definitely in danger of sinking not just to the bottom of the first round but all the way into the second round of the draft.
Mayock’s comments came during an interview on the Rich Eisen Show on Thursday night in which he said Cook’s “off-field character stuff’’ was the cause of his descent down draft boards.
Cook’s rap sheet includes one citation for a BB gun incident that left some car windows broken, another for chaining up three pit bull puppies by the neck and a domestic violence charge he was later acquitted of.
The fact Cook has already had a couple of shoulder surgeries and has never really embraced the blocking aspect of playing the running back position aren’t helping his cause either.
Nor is it helpful that Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey has “picked up a lot of heat,’’ according to Mayock and is now on track to be the second back to come off the board after LSU’s Leonard Fournette.
By the way, Mayock says he sees Fournette going either fourth overall to the Jaguars or eighth overall to the Panthers, who will probably take McCaffrey if Fournette is already gone, Mayock said.
That would leave the Eagles at No. 14 as the only running-back needy team ahead of the Bucs, but you get the feeling from listening to Mayock that he believes Tampa Bay would be better off taking a tight end.
Mayock says he believes three tight ends – Albamaa’s O.J. Howard, Miami’s David Njoku and Mississippi’s Evan Engram – could be selected in the first round but he also believes the best of those may slide a bit.
“(Howard) is as good a mixed combo tight end with the ability to block in line and get down the field intermediate and deep as I’ve seen in recent years,’’ Mayock said.
“I think he’s going to be every bit as good as Greg Olsen. He has that kind of ability, but he could slide a little bit because he’s not as sexy as some of the picks.’’