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James Cook Landing Spots: Is Day 2 a possibility for Georgia’s running back?

Where could Georgia RB James Cook land in the 2022 NFL Draft, and what type of offense would fit him best at the next level?

Georgia Bulldogs RB James Cook will certainly have a bright future ahead of him in the NFL. However, with a lesser body of work than the majority of the 2022 NFL Draft running back class, where exactly does he land? When can he expect to hear his name called in April? We take a look at Cook’s potential landing spots in this year’s NFL Draft.

James Cook is in the Day 2 range

Don’t let his body of work fool you. Cook is absolutely in the Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) discussion. Sure, he’s toted the rock 107 times this season and only 224 over his career. Some of the top backs eclipsed that total this past season alone. But that only proves one thing: despite limited reps, Cook has flashed elite play and potential. Imagine what he’ll look like in a full-time featured role.

Where could he be a featured rusher or even a role as a primary back in a two-back rotation? Let’s hit the potential landing spots in the 2022 NFL Draft for Cook.

Cook could take over for Rashaad Penny with the Seattle Seahawks

It’s safe to say Rashaad Penny had his run in Seattle. The former first-round pick had his fifth-year option declined and will hit the open market in March. The Seahawks don’t have a first-round draft pick and are currently projected to select with picks 41 and 72 on Day 2.

Look for Seattle to address running back with one of those picks, as the position is vital to the offense. Cook would present a terrific addition to the Seahawks. Not only does he give Pete Carroll and Co. a running back with more tread on the tires, but he’s also a focal point in the passing attack.

Cook would give Seattle a more than valuable option out of the backfield to whoever is throwing passes in 2022. The pieces that have to fall in place for Cook to land in Seattle would be minimal but include the top four running backs being off the board.

If Kenneth Walker III, Breece Hall, Isaiah Spiller, and Tyler Allgeier are all gone, there is a significant chance Cook could sneak up as high as No. 72 overall.

New York Jets have enough draft capital to throw a dart

You don’t expect drafting players to be like shooting darts. But let’s face it, professional dart throwers are far more accurate than NFL general managers. That said, the New York Jets have more than enough draft capital to throw a couple of darts in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Jets are pegged to select with two top-10 picks and two early Round 2 selections. They also have an early draft choice in the third round, marking their fifth overall pick by the time the middle of Day 2 hits. Currently projected at pick 69, Cook’s value could almost be too nice to pass up here.

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More likely, however, the Jets pass on running back here and grab a talented pass catcher in the backfield with their pick at the top of Round 4.

Cook’s skill set out of the backfield would present problems for AFC East defenses. It would also offer a vital checkdown for rising second-year QB Zach Wilson. The Jets need help on the offensive line but also a player who can consistently make something out of nothing out of the backfield. That’s Cook.

Buffalo Bills are no strangers to selecting RBs in Round 3

There may be more pressing needs for the Buffalo Bills at the top of the 2022 NFL Draft, but they are indeed no stranger to selecting running backs in the third round.

They selected Devin Singletary in 2019 and Zack Moss in 2020. As the years have passed, neither has taken the reigns of the starting role nor have they matched their collegiate success.

The Bills don’t ask their running backs to carry it for more than 200 times apiece, but they do rely on them to haul in passes out of the backfield. Cook’s selection would allow Buffalo to keep running backs on rookie contracts and not extend them, getting one more year out of Singletary before letting him test free agency.

Cook is a better receiver than Singletary and Moss already. Buffalo should absolutely look at him with pick 89, if available, in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Other teams that could select Cook

New England Patriots – Picks 87, 125, 172

Arizona Cardinals – Picks 88, 175

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Picks 92, 130, 170

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. He is also the co-host of Between the Hashes, a college football and NFL draft podcast. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter @CamMellor

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