For the first time since 2011, Connor Cook is suiting up for a new team as fall football begins.
After originally signing with Michigan State in the 2011 class, the former Walsh Jesuit (OH) product went on to set many school record while leading the Spartans to one of the best periods in program history.
The winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Big Ten QB of the year in 2015, Cook left East Lansing as the school’s winningest QB with a 34-5 record in three seasons. He also left as the school's record-holder in passing yards (9,194), touchdown passes (71) and total offense (9,403 yards).
All of this was enough to earn Cook a fourth-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, where the Oakland Raiders made his pro dreams a reality. Cook is now getting set for the 2016 NFL season while fighting for the backup QB spot in the preseason.
Cook's first live NFL action came against the Cardinals in Week 1 of the preseason. He finished that game completing 7-of-11 passes for 71 yards with no scores or turnovers. He made a little more noise in his second preseason game vs the Packers, where Cook threw for 101 yards on 6-of-9 passing attempts for an average of 11.2 yards per attempt with one pick.
Cook's most impressive pass was a 33-yard strike Seth Roberts while avoiding Green Bay's pass rush. After dancing in and out of the pocket, Cook escaped to his left and threw a perfect deep ball while on the run.
But with the Raiders having two experienced quarterbacks in Derek Carr and Matt McGloin, it still looks like Cook will be the No. 3 quarterback this season. With the next preseason game being the third one in which teams mainly play their starters and second-stringers, it's unlikely we'll see much of Cook against the Titans this coming Saturday.
Even if Cook is unable to win the backup spot, he's still showing the kind of progress a rookie QB needs to display, enough that his NFL future is still looking bright.