Tarik Cohen NFL Draft 2017: Scouting Report for Chicago Bears' Pick

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 29, 2017

CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 12:  Tarik Cohen #28 of the North Carolina A&T Aggies runs against Dajaun Drennon #17 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during a game at Kenan Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
5'6 3/8"179 lbs4.42sN/AN/A7.22s


Tarik Cohen earned his nickname: “the human joystick.” He has great speed, running a 4.42 40-yard dash, and has excellent lateral quickness to match. He profiles as a third-down back at his size of 5'6", 179 pounds; he may never be more than that, but he can excel in that role. He shows good toughness on his runs. Despite his small frame, he never gives up, continuing to drive his legs and try for extra yardage. He can make defenders miss in space and use his speed to explode by them. He averaged 7.5 yards per carry his senior year, consistently showing his big-play ability. He is also lethal out of the backfield, using his lateral quickness to break linebackers down in space and consistently get open. Additionally, Cohen projects as a dangerous returner given his speed and lateral quickness, even though he did not fill that role in college. 



His size will likely drop his stock on draft day. He isn’t big enough to be an every-down back despite being one in college. His production came at the FCS level, where he was a better athlete than everyone else. The NFL will be a big step up in competition, and some of his breakaway runs won’t be possible. When he runs, he too often looks to bounce it outside, lacking vision in between the tackles. He has a big-play mentality that leads to runs getting strung out. His size will not only hinder him from being an every-down back, but in pass-blocking situations as well. His toughness is apparent on tape, but in the NFL, linebackers and linemen will run through him on their way to the quarterback.

PRO COMPARISON: Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles

FINAL GRADE: 5.75/9.00 (Rotational Back—Round 4)

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