The Chicago Tribune article The Detroit Lions have been looking to fill the void left by quarterback Matthew Stafford’s retirement, but they’ve struggled to fill it.
While they’ve had success filling that need, they haven’t been able to fill that need with a franchise quarterback.
So when the Lions traded up to select Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook with the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, they knew they were taking a chance on a young quarterback with a bright future.
The Lions have drafted at least one quarterback in each of the past four drafts and they’ve managed to find at least two of them in the first round.
Cook’s biggest problem in college has been consistency.
His first two seasons at Michigan State were plagued by injury and a lack of consistency, and he struggled to show much improvement from year to year.
He was only named to the All-Big Ten second team as a junior and senior.
The NFL Draft is the time to start a new direction for your franchise.
You need to find a quarterback who has the ability to play at a high level, has the mindset to succeed and is able to be an impact player for your team.
When it comes to the Lions, the answer was Connor Cook, but it was a little bit more than that.
When the Lions selected Cook in the second round, they weren’t expecting much out of him.
Cook had a 2.19 grade-point average and posted a 2,056 passing yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in 10 games for Michigan State.
He averaged 4.3 yards per pass attempt and was completing 56.7 percent of his passes.
The problem was his college stats were more than enough to convince general manager Bob Quinn that the Lions needed to upgrade their passing game, and Cook’s stock began to rise.
He started his college career as the Spartans’ starter in 2015, and when he started the next year he put up huge numbers, throwing for 2,822 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 63.2 percent of the passes.
Then in 2016, Cook broke out.
He threw for over 1,200 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions as the Wolverines finished second in the Big Ten and went on to win the national championship.
Cook led Michigan State to the NCAA title game, which it lost to Michigan, and it was the best year of his career.
Cook didn’t play a down for Michigan after the championship, and his Heisman Trophy candidacy didn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
The 2016 season, however, was a very different story.
He had a good season as a starter and was one of the top passers in the country.
He finished the year with a passer rating of 108.6, which was the fifth highest of his NFL career.
In 2017, Cook struggled with injuries and he was sacked 20 times.
That’s a number that’s not often seen from a quarterback with the size of Cook.
He also had his worst statistical year as a college starter, completing just 51.3 percent of passes for 2.7 yards per attempt.
The next year, Cook started all 16 games, throwing three touchdown passes and completing 66.7.
He led Michigan to the Big 12 championship and was named the Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year.
The season was good, but Cook had another injury plagued year, throwing two interceptions and throwing for just 603 yards and three touchdowns.
It was an improvement from the previous year, but the problem was again the lack of production from the offense.
In 2018, Cook returned to the starting lineup and led the Wolverids to the national title, but he was the same quarterback he was last year.
The next season, Cook threw for 2 of 2 touchdown passes against the Ohio State Buckeyes, which is pretty good for the quarterback he’s had trouble with throughout his career and a good sign that he could improve.
In 2019, Cook had his best year as an NFL starter.
He completed 58.5 percent of all passes for 4,912 yards and 26 touchdowns.
That was the third-highest of his four seasons as a pro.
He continued to have trouble with injuries, but was able to start for Michigan again in 2020 and started the season for the first time since 2014.
Cook was a big part of the Wolverine offense again in 2021, when he was one out of two quarterbacks to complete at least 60 percent of their passes.
He then threw two touchdown passes to tight end Travis Rudolph, which led to Rudolph’s game-winning touchdown in the College Football Playoff Championship.
The final year of Cook’s career was good for him, as he was a top-15 overall pick by the Bears in 2021 and a second-round pick by Jacksonville in 2022.
He played in all 16 regular-season games, including two playoff games, but there wasn’t a lot of production for him in the regular season.
Cook finished his career with 1,