James Cook will play a huge role for the Bills in 2022

NFL, Buffalo Bills, James Cook - Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
NFL, Buffalo Bills, James Cook - Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buffalo Bills just fell short of an AFC Championship appearance in 2021. The Bills selected an offensive weapon in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft that will help them reach that milestone and more.

The Buffalo Bills’ second most productive runner was their quarterback, Josh Allen, who led the team with 763 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Allen was not far behind their actual starting running back, Devin Singletary, who rushed for 870 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bills have had issues finding consistency at the running back position however they may have struck gold with the 63rd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft; James Cook.

Buffalo Bills could have budding star on their hands in James Cook

The Bills solved two main issues when they selected Georgia running back James Cook in the draft. Cook is an explosive athlete (4.42 40) that has big-time playmaking ability and the ability to turn simple completions into huge gains. Cook has excellent lateral movement and his clear speed when splitting through gaps jumps off the tape. The beauty to this pick is that Josh Allen will be able to utilize Cook as more than a halfback.

Cook is a dual threat in the backfield and in the passing game which gives the Bills a distinct advantage. There has been a distinct drop-off in talent after the Bills’ top wideout, Stefon Diggs, followed by Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie.

While Cook can be productive in the Buffalo Bills rushing attack he can run a variety of routes, not limited to screens and flat routes that we normally see from “pass-catching backs.” Cook utilizes the route tree in ways that most running backs cannot and Josh Allen in turn send Cook outside to line up as a receiver and create mismatches.

The negatives have to be pointed out as Cook is smaller in stature and overall size than his brother Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings. Cook has the explosive play ability but to say it is on the same level as his brother is not accurate. If Cook adds some size and starts shedding NFL tackles like Dalvin then the conversation may change.

Another positive that should not be overlooked is that Cook had his most productive college season in 2021 rushing for 728 yards with seven touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns. Prior to the 2021 season, Georgia kept the load light for Cook where he never had more than 45 rushing attempts. Cook will have less mileage on his body coming into the NFL and that will serve to lengthen his time as a professional.

James Cook is already turning heads in training camp and insiders within the league are starting to notice. Coach Sean McDermott has stated that Cook is, “a young player that has opened some eyes here.” Cook will be the piece the Bills were missing in 2021 in order to punch the touchdowns in when they need them most.

In 2022 13 seconds won’t be enough time for anyone to catch up to the Buffalo Bills.