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Connor Cook, the All-Big 10 quarterback of the Michigan State Spartans, suffered one of the most shocking draft day plummets in recent memory during last weekend’s NFL Draft. Projected as a first round pick throughout much of the season, Cook led the Spartans to the first round of the NCAA Football Playoff, losing to eventual champion Alabama. Cook, guiding the Spartans to a 33-5 record as a three-year starter, including a perfect 3-0 against “big brother” Michigan, at one time sat atop Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” of NFL prospects.
But in the weeks preceding draft day, teams began to question Cook’s leadership, namely him not being voted team captain his senior season, a peculiar situation for a 5th-year senior and multiple year starter as prolific and accomplished as Cook.
While the questions remained largely unanswered, with even Jon Gruden getting in on the controversy, Cook seemingly remained upbeat, calling himself the “number one quarterback” in this class and expressing confusion as to why “experts” had ranked Cal’s Jared Goff and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz ahead of him.
To Cook’s credit, as recently as the week of the NFL Draft, most mock analysts had the MSU quarterback as a likely first round pick — perhaps the top target of the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos on the heels of Peyton Manning’s retirement. To most, though, Cook’s “temperament” remained a concern, the two-time Big 10 Champion’s on the field accomplishments outweighed his rumored immaturity.
On draft night, when the Broncos traded up five spots in the first round to select a quarterback, most expected Cook’s name to be called. Instead, team President John Elway selected Paxton Lynch of Memphis, a surprise pick for a team built to “win now” with an aging defense and Super Bowl pedigree. Lynch, though possessing ideal measurable traits and athleticism, played in a spread offense and against competition in the American Athletic Conference nowhere near that of the Big 10. To quote ESPN Analyst Todd McShay: “He’s definitely a project.”
Cook would not be selected until the 4th round, falling behind far less heralded quarterbacks such as NC State’s Jacoby Brissett and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, whom he defeated head-to-head three times.
Analysts and football fans alike seemed to be searching for an answer as to what caused the most decorated quarterback in Spartan history to drop almost 100 spots from his top five projection just a year ago.
Well, we may now have our answer. Chris Cook, Connor’s father, seems to be a PR nightmare and all around dickhead, utilizing his personal twitter account, where he provides a disclaimer reading: “Connor Cook’s dad let me reminder you: MSU beat UM all 3 years he started-he and the Spartan’s owned the Wolverines and they will continue to own you losers.” Cook’s dad has attacked multiple media personalities based on their appearance and sexual orientation while threatening fans of other teams as well as players. He has since deleted the account.
While I am no means a member of the PC patrol, tweeting at Rachel Maddow: “hmm homely liberal dike 2 watch tonight or a beautiful heterosexual conservative” seems a bit out of line. Rachel Maddow was not alone in his twitter feed, where he went on to display a disdain for Muslims, immigrants, various politicians, wish death upon Al Sharpton, threaten to “hurt” an opposing player, and repeatedly use incendiary language based on race, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion.
While it would make sense a team would not want to hitch its wagons long term to a “franchise” quarterback with such a loose cannon of a father, perhaps not to be out done by dad, Connor tweeted this gem on February 3, 2012: “I will forever hate ANYONE who is in a fraternity #LiveUpToMyWord #FAGS.”
Now the likely third string quarterback in Oakland, Cook’s contract is not fully guaranteed, while the average NFL career for a 4th round pick is less than three full seasons. Due to the NFL’s pay slotting system for draftees, Cook’s three round fall cost him upwards of $10 million in guaranteed money.
So, Connor, looking forward to seeing you put that MSU General Studies degree to use as the night manager at Sbarros in 2019. Maybe you’ll find your Vinny Chase to save you, too..
Image via Youtube