First-round running backs have become a rare breed in recent years, but Jimbo Fisher thinks one running back who lasted until the second round absolutely should have gone in the first.
Dalvin Cook played for Fisher at Florida State before the Vikings selected him with the 41st overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and Fisher told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press that teams made a big mistake letting Cook last that long.
“The Vikings got the steal of the draft in that one, I promise you,” Fisher said. “All the ones who didn’t think he was first round, I never understood that, and I used to laugh at that in that somebody’s going to regret that one day.”
The 2017 draft, however, shows some of the perils of drafting running backs high. The first back chosen in that class, Leonard Fournette, was viewed at the time as an elite running back prospect, but he hasn’t had an elite career. Meanwhile, third-round running backs Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt and James Conner, fourth-round running back Tarik Cohen and fifth-round running back Aaron Jones have all been to Pro Bowls.
Fisher said he watches the Vikings regularly to see how Cook is doing.
“That’s my buddy,” Fisher said. “It doesn’t surprise me whatever he does. He’s as good as I’ve ever been around and as great of a player as he is, he’s a better person. He’s a workaholic, he’s a team guy. I love him to death. One of the all-time favorites I’ve ever coached. You talk about a competitor and a warrior, you can’t say enough great things about him.”