With the 62nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Cincinnati Bearcats safety Bryan Cook. Initially, most seemed to be under the impression that Cook would replace Juan Thornhill as the team’s third safety, while Thornhill would return to second safety and replace Dan Sorenson, who left the team in free agency. Some have even speculated that the former All-ACC first-team selection could find himself in a starting role with Kansas City at some point during his rookie campaign.
Despite how we felt upfront and despite the Chiefs using a high-end draft pick on safety, Cook was largely overlooked by local and national media as Kansas City weathered the offseason. It makes no sense, and as training camp opens and the Chiefs’ ability to control the narratives diminishes, we should expect to see and hear a lot more about athleticism and intelligence. of Cook and how that translates to defending Kansas City and the NFL. .
Despite being drafted early by the Chiefs and despite being needed at the position, rookie safety Bryan Cook has received virtually no hype this offseason.
Prior to being drafted, NFL writer for The Athletic Dane Brugler opined that:
“Cook is one of the most reliable tacklers in this draft class with his ability to balance himself on the move, maintain a wide stance and hit low, physical through his target. On cover, he has the athleticism and awareness to stay on top of the roads, although he could be better with his body positioning on the court. Overall, Cook has room to increase his level of consistency in coverage, but he is an above average running defender with the physical traits and passing attitude to see the pitch early and often in the NFL.
In addition to Cook’s potential, alleged starter Juan Thornhill has even been mentioned as a possible trade candidate by several media outlets. Should such a trade go through, it would demonstrate that the Chiefs have tremendous confidence in Cook’s ability to produce early, as it would almost certainly propel the former Academic All-American into a six-time starting role for the AFC. Western champions.
In fact, it’s arguable that Cook could end up being the Chiefs’ top safety by the end of the season. Certainly, Kansas City brought in Justin Reid as captain of defense, to take over the role left by the departure of All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu. However, given his growth potential, we shouldn’t be surprised if Cook ends up overtaking Reid as the team’s best man at the back of defence.
It could be that the Chiefs are keeping a lid on Cook’s hype ahead of his first training camp at St. Joe. The team is known to do this to minimize expectations/stress for younger players who are yet to prove themselves in the NFL. It’s possible the team is just trying to manage expectations by not featuring rookie safety as part of the offseason storyline.
Often, Kansas City has also been silent on which players it considers ready to enter the league as a surprise later in the preseason, or even the regular season. Maybe the team is well aware of what they have in Cook and are just trying to keep the other teams from finding out before they have to. Curiously, that’s exactly the opposite approach the team took towards Juan Thornhill after selecting him with the 63rd pick, just one selection later than Cook, in the 2019 draft.
After a breakout senior campaign, Cook catapulted himself from just two games for the Bearcats as a junior to a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. It seems clear that security still has a huge room for improvement. Pair his physical traits with his high intellect, and one can obviously infer what defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach saw in Cook when they used the last of their two second-round pick in the 2022 draft on ball-peddling safety.
It remains to be seen why the rookie receives so little fanfare from the team and the media ahead of his first training camp. Will Cook’s rookie season follows the arc of Juan Thornhill’s 2019 campaign, which saw him improve rapidly over the season and create huge excitement about his future potential; or, will the second round end up looking more like Armani Watts, a contributor throughout his rookie contract who never achieved the potential Kansas City saw in him when they drafted him? It’s a question only time can answer, but for now Chiefs Kingdom should be hugely excited about Cook’s potential in this defense and the opportunities he will have early in his career to grow and do. his proofs.