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Connor Cook drafted into the XFL with second overall pick

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Former Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook was drafted by the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Michigan State vs Alabama Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Cook, one of the best quarterbacks in Michigan State Spartans history and leader of the team during its most successful stretch in recent history, is headed to the XFL.

The former Oakland Raiders QB was drafted by the Houston Roughnecks in the league’s “inaugural” season draft with the second overall pick in the skill position section of the draft. If that sentence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, that’s because it’s the XFL, and of course.

Nearly 20 years after the original XFL fell apart after only one season, the WWE backed league has returned. The new league features eight teams and has a draft that makes the MLB Draft look simple. Over two days, each team will draft their entire team, but in a very specific order. The first ten rounds were dedicated to just skill position players–QB, RB, WR, TE– followed by ten rounds for just the offensive line. The next group drafted is defensive lineman and linebackers, followed by defensive backs and finally an open draft to fill in special teams and remaining openings.

Cook was selected second overall by Houston, behind only WR Rashard Davis who went to the DC Defenders. However, Cook is something of a surprise selection in that spot and the only QB drafted in the first round.

Before the draft started, every team was assigned a “franchise QB” ensuring that every team seemingly gets one of the leagues best signal callers. This group included Landry Jones, Cardale Jones, Matt McGloin and Aaron Murray. The Roughnecks were assigned Philip Walker, the former Temple Owls quarterback who spent the last two seasons on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad.

It would appear, considering where Cook was selected, that there will be something of a quarterback controversy in Houston. The starter will eventually be named by head coach June Jones, who has had a prolific career as a head coach in both the NFL and in college. He’s best known for his high octane offenses at Hawaii in the early 2000’s and coaching the Atlanta Falcons to the playoffs in 1995.

After leaving Michigan State as the most prolific QB in team history, setting career records in passing yards and passing touchdowns, Cook was drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played in only one game for the Raiders in 2016 and never saw the field in 2017. He spent the 2018 on the Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions practice squads.

Cook led the Spartans to three straight bowl games, winning at least 11 games each season. During that stretch, the Spartans went to and won the Rose Bowl, twice went to the Cotton Bowl, winning the first time and losing to Alabama in a quarterfinal playoff matchup the second.

Cook was one of eight former Spartans who entered the XFL Draft. He was joined by RB LJ Scott, WR Keith Mumphery, OT Miguel Machado, LB Taiwan Jones, LB Jon Reschke, S Demetrious Cox and S Kurtis Drummond. Cook was the only one of the group drafted at the time of publication.

For complete results of the XFL Draft, click here.