Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook will be one of the top QB prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft but some questioned him skipping the Senior Bowl.
Connor Cook ended his college career as the most accomplished quarterback in Michigan State Spartans history. However, that doesn’t mean he’s moving on to the NFL without questions that teams will want answered.
Much made of Cook not being voted a team captain despite being a senior quarterback. That was downplayed by the program with the explanation that Cook was part of a broader leadership team but you can bet Cook will face questions during the pre-draft process about his leadership and fit inside the locker room.
Cook could have started to answer some questions and relieve concerns had he been at the Senior Bowl last month but he chose not to attend. Reasons for not accepting an invite to the Senior Bowl was initially left to the imagination but Cook gave an explanation in a piece by Bruce Feldman for FOX Sports. Feldman quotes Cook as follows:
"“Obviously, I wasn’t 100 percent playing against Penn State, Iowa and Alabama,” Cook said. “After the season, I talked to my agent Joel Segal and we felt like the best option was to go to California to start training and rehabbing, so that I’d be 100 percent for the Combine and Pro Day and that stuff.“I am a competitor, and any time I get a chance to compete against anyone, I want to take it. So (having to skip the Senior Bowl) did kinda sting, but we just did what my agent thought was the best option.”"
It’s a reasonable explanation by why not make it widely known the absence was injury-related right away? Cook doesn’t necessarily owe anyone an explanation when declining his Senior Bowl invite but not addressing it during Senior Bowl week means narratives were open for interpretation.
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Fellow Spartan and 2016 NFL Draft hopeful Darien Harris offered an impassioned defense of Cook when asked at the East-West Shrine Game. Fair or not, Cook will have to passionately defend himself in pre-draft interviews.