2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB James Cook, Georgia

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB James Cook, Georgia

Fantasy football player analysis tips and advice

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB James Cook, Georgia


James Cook hails from the Georgia Running Back Factory that served up D’Andre Swift, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, and Todd Gurley in recent drafts. He also is the younger brother of Dalvin Cook, so he has the genetics and pedigree to be an NFL running back. Cook was the third-ranked running back in the 2018 recruiting class, and teammate Zamir White was the first-ranked. Just being a Georgia running back says a lot.

But they used a committee backfield, and Cook had minor playing time for the first three seasons. He played behind D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield, and Zamir White until his senior year, when he started several games in a timeshare with White, and Cook saw his busiest season as a receiver while the Bulldogs won the Orange Bowl over Michigan and then a national championship versus Alabama.

Cook’s best game was in the 2021 Orange Bowl when he ran for 32 yards on six carries and then caught four passes for 112 yards and a score. He later rushed for 77 yards on six carries and caught two passes for 15 yards in the championship against the Crimson Tide.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 190 pounds
40 time: 4.42

Cook was always productive when given a chance but was little used in the Georgia committee backfield until last season when he finally came close to the same touches as  White. He’s expected to be a Day 2 pick in the second or third round, which speaks to his potential more than his past production.

Table: James Cook NCAA stats (2018-21)

Year School Games Runs Yards Avg. TD Catch Yards. TD
2018 Georgia 10 41 284 6.9 0 8 89 0
2019 Georgia 13 31 188 6.1 0 16 132 0
2020 Georgia 8 45 303 6.7 2 16 225 0
2021 Georgia 15 113 728 6.4 4 27 284 0


  • Highly versatile back
  • Excellent receiver including work from the slot
  • Effective runner with over 6.0 yards per carry each year
  • Receiving skills of a wide receiver
  • Accelerates to the hole and has elite start-stop and lateral moves
  • Speed to take any play the distance
  • Mismatch against linebackers on pass plays
  • Low mileage back with durability should have a longer career
  • Could be a three-down player if needed
  • Can throw half-back passes


  • Not a power-rusher like so many other Bulldog running backs
  • Size suggests optimal career as a third-down back
  • Was arrested in 2019 on two misdemeanors but has since been exemplary so not a real concern
  • Poor pass blocking has to improve
  •  Less likely to be successful with inside running at the NFL level

Fantasy outlook

Cook has the build and a resume to show that he’s well-suited to a role as a pass-catching back, but he’s not just a third-down player. His size may limit his rushing role, but he has plenty of moves and enough speed to do damage as a running back as well. He may not move the pile, but his quick feet and change-of-direction skills will be useful in the NFL as a runner, if only as a complement to a primary rusher.

As with any running back, his fantasy value will depend mostly on his opportunities. Cook has low mileage, but he spent four years with one of the elite college programs and comes off a national championship.  He can contribute as a rookie though he’ll be drafted mostly as a secondary back or even depth until the depth chart opens up enough to get him on the field consistently. Cook can be a factor on all three downs.

Cook’s versatility will make him an attractive addition to any NFL backfield, and many scouts believe he’s underrated due to his lack of statistics from the last four years.

His fantasy value will spike if he lands on a team that relies heavily on  running backs as receivers. He’s likely not as productive as Alvin Kamara but shares much of the same skillset. He’ll appeal more in leagues with reception points and could play as a third-down back as early as this year. But he carries the potential to be even more, so his dynasty value will be higher.


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