Is Dirk Koetter “In Love?”

April 26th, 2017

Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira Kaufman, has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2015. His columns pop here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire every Tuesday and Thursday. 


For the second time in three years, Buc fans have their eyes fixed firmly on a polarizing Florida State prospect heading into the draft.

In 2015, armed with the No. 1 overall pick, Jason Licht decided early that Jameis Winston had the look of a franchise quarterback, the first in Buc history. Two years later, few Tampa Bay fans would argue with that assessment.

On the brink of the 2017 draft, Buc fans are zeroed in on Dalvin Cook, the record-setting back who helped Winston lead Florida State to a national championship.

When the Bucs emerged as a perennial NFL power in 1997, they had just selected Warrick Dunn with the 12th pick in the draft. Dunn finished a terrific pro career in 2008 — 15,306 total yards from scrimmage.

Only 13 backs in NFL annals have more.

Dunn had been considered the best back in FSU history until Cook came along, averaging 16 touchdowns per season and 142 yards per game from scrimmage.

“When you have a guy like Warrick at the top of the list and see what he did with the program and as a human being, you have to humble yourself,” Cook says.

How Deep Is The “Need?”

After a 2-14 disaster in 2014, the Bucs were desperate for a quarterback. Now there is a glaring need in the backfield. If Cook is still on the board at No. 19, he will be difficult to pass up.

Difficult, but not impossible.

This particular draft is rich in running back talent and the Patriots just won a Super Bowl with a primary back (ex-Buc LeGarrette Blount) who is still on the market, looking for a job.

No wonder Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting today the Bucs looking to move back in Round 1.

In the NFL, there are needs — and then there are quarterback needs. All 32 teams have needs, but a hole at quarterback often leads to a draft-day blunder.

The Bucs are in position to grab the best player available and a compelling case can be made that the Bucs should choose Cook in the opening round. He’s the kind of big-play talent Dirk Koetter craves, capable of going the distance any time he has the ball in space.

“I’m an every-down back,” he insists. “On any given play, I can go 80 yards. I can change the scoreboard.”

That he can.

Cook played well in big games and averaged a stunning 11.8 yards per catch in his 38-game college career. Cook isn’t much of a blocker, but Koetter can surely work around that blemish.

There’s a lot to like about Cook as a prospect, but there are also some red flags that signal caution.

Health issues are a concern because Cook has undergone three shoulder surgeries since high school. He’s also had a few run-ins with the law and he hasn’t always been effective running between the tackles.

Cook’s combine workout was far from overwhelming, but so what? His college tape is rather exhilarating.

His football skills have been compared to Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy and Edgerrin James — and that’s heady company.

The concerns appear trivial when you look at the film, but there’s one issue that could end up being a game-breaker in Tampa.

Cook’s a fumbler.

Koetter’s Call

Those 13 career fumbles might scare the bejesus out of Koetter, a stickler for ball security. Every NFL coach talks about the importance of winning the turnover battle, but Koetter is fanatical about it.

Jameis Winston is still struggling with giveaways, and Koetter isn’t about to sign off on a running back he deems unreliable.

Make no mistake — if Koetter isn’t in love with Cook, Licht isn’t going to turn his name in Thursday night.

Drafting a back in the first round is risky business. They have a short shelf life and this is a passing league.

Still, Cook could be special. In the first round, you want special.

If Cook is there at No. 19 and the Bucs pass or trade back, you will hear screams from Thonotosassa to Tarpon Springs. If I’m Licht, I stick to my board and take the highest-rated player still standing.

Unless he’s a kicker.


53 Responses to “Is Dirk Koetter “In Love?””

  1. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    Now you too Ira? Damn yo… No RB in the first.
    Make Mixon a BUC

  2. DBS Says:

    Get Barnett. History has repeated itself long enough!

  3. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Yer purty good at this writing stuff, Ira.

  4. Scott Says:

    Thanks for the Thonotosassa love! Not sure too many people realize that’s a place.

  5. BRock Says:

    Cook wasn’t on national championship team. That was Freeman who has worked out well for Atlanta, and Cook’s better.

  6. Ben the Ga Buc Says:

    Point of order – Dalvin Cook was not on the roster for the 2013 Seminoles national championship team.

    The top running backs for that team were Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams.

  7. Ben the Ga Buc Says:

    BRock … beat me by a red hot minute. 😉

  8. stu Says:

    Kareem Hunt zero lost fumbles in college…

  9. bucsfaninchina Says:

    @stu I have a distinct feeling Hunt will be our guy by the end of Friday nite. Love Cook, but a 1st round pick who has a sketchy past and has already bought a benz for himself just doesn’t feel right to me.

  10. Locked In Says:

    If we do trade back in the 1st, Licht could package the extra picks and possible future pick(s) to trade back up in the top half of the 1st, you never know.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    If Cook is on the board at 19 Bucs will take him.

  12. BobbyC Says:

    Love the Thonotosassa reference, Would love to see Cook in Tampa, but i dont want to see him get killed behind this offensive line, Jamesis needs to be protected at all cost, needs to be a focus. You win in the trenches, Mack would be a decent pick in the third.

  13. Mike Johnson Says:

    I know one thing..If Barnett somehow slides to us..We’d better take him. Guys gonna be an NFL..Beast! I like Cook but there are some very good running backs in this draft equal to his talent without the..publicity/attention. SO I’m hoping we do somehow get a 2 for one in the 2nd rd..

  14. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Cook screams boom or bust to me. I can totally see it going either way. He’s probably worth the risk, but I’m a lot more hesitant than I was a few weeks ago.

  15. BrianBucs Says:

    Cook scored an 11 on the Wonderlic at the combine.

  16. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “Cook scored an 11 on the Wonderlic at the combine.”


    If we compete for Jeopardy, he won’t be a starter. That much is clear.

  17. unbelievable Says:

    “Unless he’s a kicker”


  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I’m guessing they don’t take Cook

  19. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Colts or Eagles will take Cook. We will end up with Charles Harris

  20. Bucsfanman Says:

    Hurry up Thursday!! YOU CAN’T GET HERE FAST ENOUGH!

  21. Miko Says:

    ding, ding, ding – Bingo!…Exhibit A…”A FUMBLER”!…how many turnovers will the Bucs have with Jameis mishaps and Cook fumbling…good god, just give me a power back that holds onto the ball..we already have a “dancing poodle”-Charles Sims

  22. Miko Says:

    much better to draft another position in 1st round, even O-Line if Lamp is available, a G or RT with Marpet moving to Center

  23. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:


  24. rayjay1122 Says:

    I am glad that some of you pointed out that Cook was not on the team yet when Winston led FSU in 2013/14. I was thinking to myself, am I missing something here? LOL

  25. briandorry55 Says:

    Oh his combine performance was overwhelming…overwhelmingly disappointing. Still great tape though.

  26. Eric Says:

    As long as he can understand take ball and run were fine.

    No danger he will over think anything.

  27. BrianBucs Says:

    Pass protections and route trees are not easy to learn. Remember the trouble Blount had when he was here? May not be rocket science or jeopardy but it is important

  28. rayjay1122 Says:

    If Cook is gone before 19 maybe a trade back is in order. About the only offensive player I would consider trading up for if he falls within reach is TE OJ Howard.

    I was also thinking if we grab a RB in the 3rd or 4th, maybe the Bucs should at least kick the tires on Jamaal Charles as a possible short term rotational player. That is of course if he could pass a physical and agree to a reasonable deal.

  29. Tampa Tony Says:

    Fumlbles from a RB matched with a turnover machine at QB is not a good combo

    Draft a DE, WR or TE heck even a CB. RB’s have short careers and Cook has over 700 touches in college unless you are a FSU fan I don’t see how people who know the sport want him over a premium position.

  30. JJBucFan Says:

    It is not like we have a top 10 pick here, It is a crapshoot after pick 5 every year anyway so grab Cook in first if available and Perine or Hunt in 3rd and get rid of this ish backfield we have that cannot stay healthy. Think Freeman and Coleman!! I’m not worried about Cooks health anymore than that of any other RB in the league or the draft. It is a tough position and ish happens, you better have a back up and Charles Sims has fooled us long enough, IMO. Get Engram in 2nd and go defense in every round except 7th where you take Freddie Stevenson, remember wha Martin did with Javorskie Lane in front of him. I cannot wait until tomorrow night.

  31. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “Pass protections and route trees are not easy to learn. Remember the trouble Blount had when he was here? May not be rocket science or jeopardy but it is important”


    Have you ever seen the questions on the Wonderlic? There is zero correlation between those questions and whether or not he can play football. There’s a long list of guys that do great on the Wonderlic, but fail in the league, and vice versa. All that school knowledge doesn’t mean a damn thing when 250 lb. defensive linemen are trying to kill your QB. It comes down to instinct and preparation more than if you can answer a math question. I don’t see how being tested on the difference between preserve and reserve have a damn thing to do with the route tree.

  32. chipbuc Says:

    Tampa Tony, If any thing your consistent , you never pass up a chance to bad mouth our QB. Here’s a question all these teams that need a QB this year do you think they would trade their #1 pick for him? I thought so. Be happy we don’t have to worry about a QB for the next 10 to 15 years.

  33. Pickgrin Says:

    ” I don’t see how people who know the sport want him over a premium position”

    Because he is that good Tony. One of the best, most dynamic, play making, TD creating, “pro ready”, 3 down running back prospects to have come out in the last decade. Fournette is right there with him but has a different style, game and body structure.

    Cook is a perfect fit for this offense who will run for at least 1000 yards – receive 3-500 more – score 10-12 TDs a year and do so splitting some time with backups like Quizz and Sims.

    We should not move up for him or any RB – but if Dalvin Cook is sitting on the board at 19 – then the Bucs should run to hand the card in and feel very fortunate to be able to fill a pretty big need for this team with such a special talent.

  34. Eric Denman Says:

    If Dalvin Cook went to any school other than FSU he wouldn’t even be mentioned. Draft BPA in the first round please.

  35. Pickgrin Says:

    And for those who still don’t get the “love” or think – “Eh fanboy talk”

    The reason that FSU fans are excited at the idea of drafting Cook is because we’ve seen him play week in and week out for 3 years. Hundreds of carries dozens and dozens and dozens of big plays and TDs. The kid is a TD machine who can strike from anywhere on the field. There are only a few of those guys in the entire NFL.

    Cook’s talent level at his position coming out of College is very much like Jameis Winston’s was. Top notch. 5 star. Checks all the boxes. Top 10 grade worthy. Exceptional skill sets, production and competitive drive – will to win. The ability to get the rock when everyone on D is expecting it and still make a huge play happen despite a good pre-snap defensive call.

    Cook has all these things coming out of College and WILL be a good NFL running back. Perhaps great. I wouldn’t bet against him being a top 5 NFL back in time – that’s for sure.

    All that said – I have repeatedly stated I don’t think Cook will be on the board at 19 and that he’s as likely as not to go top 10 or at least within a very few picks of top 10.

    One more day to find out.

    If we do get lucky enough to draft Dalvin Cook at 19 – then Licht will pull the trigger and all current doubter’s doubts will be quickly erased by Cook’s on field play next year. That I will guarantee. (barring injury which I know is everyone’s fear – get over it. Cook is durable. He’s a gamer and shows up big in big moments against good competition.)

  36. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Tampa Tony Says:
    April 26th, 2017 at 1:04 pm
    Fumlbles from a RB matched with a turnover machine at QB is not a good combo


    Perfectly said…

    And so true, if Cook was playing at any other school, no one would mention him.

  37. Tampa Tony Says:

    @chip I’m just summarizing what Ira clearly stated. Let’s not put our heads in the sand over Jameis’s turnover problems. Let’s hope he cleans them up. If the only HOF voter knows Jameis has issues why doesn’t everyone else?

    Back to Cook he’s got a lot of tread on those tires with over 700 touches has a fumbling issue and plays a non premium position. He might be special or might be a bust. I just prefer the team take a corner de or TE. Corner and de might help this team stop Brees Ryan and Newton more than Cook

  38. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Yo Ira.. 😉

  39. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Ira, Cook didn’t play on the championship team. He was there the year after.

  40. Buc1987 Says:

    LifeOfABucFan Says:
    April 26th, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Tampa Tony Says:
    April 26th, 2017 at 1:04 pm
    Fumlbles from a RB matched with a turnover machine at QB is not a good combo


    “Perfectly said…

    And so true, if Cook was playing at any other school, no one would mention him.”

    Yet they’re talking about him in Philly.

    Not too many folks worried about his 700 touches in Eagleland.

  41. Buc1987 Says:

    From :

    Tampa Tony Says:
    April 24th, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    “Dude is gonna be motivated Week 1 and playing with a real qb. Licht and his scared tactics will regret not signing AP.”

    To : “Back to Cook he’s got a lot of tread on those tires with over 700 touches has a fumbling issue and plays a non premium position.”

    Dude AP is a fumble machine with a lot of “tread on those tires”, you wanted him though.

  42. JayBucBoi Says:

    Ira, Joe, BucsNation! The Bucs are eyeing Joe Mixon, not Cook. Dirk wants a back that can do what Cook does, no doubt, but one that can block too. You’re not a 3 down back if you can’t block, that makes you more predictable where teams know if that given back is in he’s not in to block. Licht has got his Intel going. Seems he feels Mixon will last until the second and we can get the RB & the WR.

    Go get ’em Licht!

  43. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Im sure Jason Licht and Co. will figure it out come tomorrow. In Licht We Trust!

    Sharpen those pencils!

  44. BucObrews Says:

    @jaybucboi…..exactly. Trade back in the first & go defense then use our two 2nds for Mixon & a wr.

  45. Tampa Tony Says:


    Do you want a HOF worthy back who has something to prove at low cost or do you want to draft a RB high who has a 40% chance of being a bust who has a lot of wear on his 5’10” 208 lb frame? Who also fumbles a lot?

    With the run game de empathized in this league I’m against any back in round 1 especially a team hungry for a sack artist in a division that plays the QB’s we play

  46. Buc1987 Says:

    Tony Bologna..If Cook’s there at 19. He’s going to be a Buc by tomorrow night. So it really doesn’t matter who I’d rather have. For what its worth I’d MUCH rather gamble on a MUCH younger Cook. He MIGHT not even be there when the Bucs take him. Do you ever wonder why that is? Perhaps it’s the 700 touches and all the fumbles.

  47. Buc1987 Says:


  48. firethecannons Says:

    Devonta Freeman helped Jameis to win the natl. championship along with KB. It was Dalvin that helped Jameis lose the Rose bowl to Marcus Mariota.

    anyway–still hoping we draft Dalvin but we need to keep it real

  49. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    I keep seeing guys say they want Barnett but almost every mock has him gone by the 12th pick at the latest. Are you guys suggesting we trade up to get him or are you just uninformed as to where most of these guys will be taken?

  50. Tampa Tony Says:

    We will see who is right or wrong within 24 hours give or take. I don’t see Cook as a slam dunk if he’s there at 19. Especially since this team plays Brees and Ryan 4 times a year. This d line needs help and another cb

    Not much difference between Cook Mack and other backs

  51. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Lol @ JayBucBoi! A very detailed pile of horsesh1T. Love how you act like you and Licht have beers together and he has told you exactly what he plans to do. My neighbor is a Buc exec. You know what he tells me about the Bucs plans! Nada, zip, zilch. You look very foolish with these bold proclamations about what Licht’s plans are. SMH

  52. Cool Says:

    Go bucs…get mix…in round 2 or third if he there

  53. JayBucBoi Says:

    You kats are crazy man. I’m just an informed fan is all, what do I know. Like Tampa Tony said, we’ll see what’s happening less than 24 hours now.

    Go get ’em Licht!