Projecting Where James Cook, Isaiah Spiller Will Be Taken After Day 1 of NFL DraftApril 29, 2022
There wasn't a single running back selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday. This ends a seven-year run of ball-carriers being selected within the first 32 picks.
Two running backs still remaining on the board are Georgia's James Cook and Texas A&M's Isaiah Spiller. While both of them need some polishing, they can develop into serviceable players at the next level.
However, it's likely that both Cook and Spiller will be waiting to hear their names called beyond Day 2 of the draft. The B/R NFL Scouting Department ranks Spiller as the No. 11 running back and Cook as the No. 12 running back, respectively, in the class.
"Spiller has good height with an adequate build for the running back position. He likes to start and stop to set up his blockers, utilizing jump cuts before getting north. He is a competitive player who runs hard," Nate Tice wrote.
Spiller rushed for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns for the Aggies last season he was named to the All-SEC second team.
Cook, the brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, ran for 728 yards and seven scores. He also added 284 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
"Cook can create explosive plays as both a runner and a receiver from the running back position. He is a viable weapon as a pass catcher, with the ability to split out and create mismatches on linebackers asked to cover him," Tice wrote.
Both Spiller and Cook are projected as fourth-round selections, but there's a chance that someone snags them earlier than that.
The Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins were the bottom three teams in rush offense during the 2021 season, so they will surely be looking to bolster their backfield. A team like the New York Jets, whose running back room is led by second-year speedster Michael Carter, could be looking to add a depth piece. Spiller and Cook both fit that mold.
There are also contending teams that rely heavily on their passing attacks, so they could be looking to add balance. The Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all ranked in the bottom-third in the league in rush offense last year. Adding Spiller or Cook would help address those deficiencies.