Connor Cook’s NFL career is already off to a wild start.
After falling from a possible first-round pick to the fourth round, the former Michigan State quarterback was relegated to mostly third-string duties for the Oakland Raiders in 2016.
Well, that changed in a hurry. All of the sudden, Cook could be the Raiders starter for the rest of the season.
A week ago, Derek Carr broke his leg. On Sunday, former Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin suffered a shoulder injury.
In came Cook for his first meaningful snaps as an NFL player. He didn’t lead the Raiders to a Week 17 win, but he finished 14-of-21 for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Here was Cook’s first career touchdown pass:
Connor Cook's TD to Amari pic.twitter.com/GC97UL6MKY
— GipsySafety (@GipsySafety) January 1, 2017
The Raiders already had a playoff spot locked up entering Week 17, though the loss dropped the Raiders to the wild card game. That means Oakland will travel to Houston for a Saturday afternoon kick.
The question now is whether or not the Raiders will start a banged-up McGloin on a short week or roll with Cook, who wasn’t perfect, but was still effective in the loss.
Cook said regardless of what decision is made, his plan will be the same.
“I’m going to do what I’ve been doing all year,” Cook told CSNBayArea.com. “When I was inactive, I was still watching film and still studying the game plan and going over everything – my reads, my hots and all that. It’s not going to change anything for me. I’m going to still prep as if I’m playing, it doesn’t matter if I’m backup, starter or whatever.”
If Cook does start, he could be making some history:
Should Connor Cook start next week for @RAIDERS he would be first QB in the Super Bowl Era to get his first career start in the playoffs.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 2, 2017
With Carr still coming off an MVP-caliber season, Cook likely doesn’t have a chance to show the Raiders that he’s the quarterback of the future.
But now, they could just need him to be the quarterback of the present.