Jack Del Rio: We aren't asking Connor Cook to be the face of our franchise
Connor Cook’s fall to the fourth round led people to assume something.
NFL teams didn’t see him as a franchise quarterback, at least not yet.
It was surprising when the Raiders traded up 14 spots in the fourth round to land the former Michigan State star. Oakland already has a franchise quarterback in third-year starter Derek Carr. Of all the teams in need of a prospect like Cook, the Raiders weren’t one of the teams on that list during the pre-draft evaluation period.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was asked about that decision process.
“We not asking him to come in and be the face of our franchise. Derek Carr is that,” Del Rio said on ‘The Herd’. “It’s a different role. There’s a different expectation level. We think he’s a fine football player. He’s got a really bright future. We want to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to be as strong as we can at all positions.
“There’s not one more important than the quarterback.”
There’s nothing too surprising about Del Rio saying that. He has no reason to suggest that Cook was drafted to compete for a starting job right after Carr just had a breakout sophomore campaign. But given the value the Raiders saw in Cook, Del Rio confirmed that he was worth the “risk” as a backup.
Del Rio didn’t buy into the lack of leadership concerns surrounding Cook, either.
“We think some of those discussions about the young man are maybe just a little bit exaggerated,” Del Rio said. “The parts where there may be some deficiencies, we feel like we can help him.”
One of those deficiencies could be Cook’s accuracy. Cook completed 56 percent of his passes as a senior while Carr completed 61 percent of his passes and threw for just shy of 4,000 yards in his second season.
As Del Rio said, Carr is the franchise. For now, Cook is still just an insurance policy.