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Connor Cook could go in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft

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Michigan State quarterback remains polarizing among league insiders.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan State Spartans signal caller Connor Cook remains a somewhat controversial figure in the NFL Draft, even as his teammates defend him.

Some have hinted at character issues, or listed him as a potential red flag. Many question Cook's leadership abilities because he wasn't voted a team captain as a senior.

"I think people are reading him wrong," fellow Spartan Jack Conklin said in February. "I think it's people trying to read into things that are not there... He's been our starting quarterback for three years. He is a leader."

Cook is the winningest quarterback in MSU history, the school's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns and the 2015 Big Ten quarterback of the year. He's also 6-4, 217 pounds, so size shouldn't be an issue.

Where will he go this weekend?

A few months back, Fox Sports NFL reporter Peter Schrager had Cook going at No. 15 to the Los Angeles Rams:

"Connor Cook is going to be a first-round pick," he says. "Everyone after the NFL Combine will get in on this. I've spoken to a lot of teams the last two weeks. The one rub on Connor Cook is that he wasn't a captain his senior year. Guess what? Not everyone is a captain their senior year."

But that was before LA traded with Tennessee for the No. 1 pick, throwing Schrager's prediction out the window.

Todd McShay has released his final mock draft, and does not have Cook going in the first round. His ESPN colleague Mel Kiper doesn't either. However, a third ESPN personality, former NFL player and scout Louis Riddick, lists Cook as the 29th pick, going to the Arizona Cardinals.

ESPN analyst/perpetual head coaching candidate Jon Gruden says Cook could be way underrated:

"He's gonna be I think perhaps the best quarterback in this year's draft."

SB Nation's own Dan Kadar lists Cook juuuust inside the first round, going at No. 31 to the Denver Broncos:

Whether the Broncos get him, or a team trades back into the first round to do so, I think we end tonight with Connor Cook being a first-round pick.

Cook himself believes he'll go in the second round. He says three teams in particular are really high on him — the 49ers, the Cowboys and the aforementioned Broncos.

FOX Sports' Alex Marvez reports that the Cleveland Browns could also look to take Cook in Round 1:

Wherever he hears his name on Thursday or has to wait a little longer, Cook will have a chance to prove all the haters wrong at the next level.