UPDATED: Raiders trade up to take QB Connor Cook

The Raiders moved up in the draft to take quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State athletics)

The Raiders moved up in the draft to take quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State athletics)

The Raiders made a surprising move Saturday, moving up in the draft to take Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook with the second pick of the fourth round.

Oakland is well set at quarterback with starter Derek Carr, but Cook provides them a potential backup of value after Cook dropped into the third day of the draft.

The Raiders swapped their fourth round pick (No. 114) and one of their fifth rounders (No. 154) with Cleveland to move up to the No. 100 overall pick. That moved them one spot ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, who were believed to be interested in Cook. 

Cook is expected to come in and compete with incumbent backup Matt McGloin for that role.

“I was pretty surprised,” Cook said on a media conference call of being selected by the Raiders. “I think Dallas was interested in me and they were trying to trade up and they couldn’t do it. And then as soon as I saw Oakland trade up, I was talking to my agent, he said they were taking a quarterback.

“Looking at it, Derek Carr is obviously a great quarterback. Go in there and learn from him, try and compete obviously.”

Cook is an experienced signal-caller who had a 34-5 overall record with the Michigan State, making him the school’s all-time winningest quarterback. The 2015 first-team All-Big Ten selection also holds school records for touchdown passes (71) and passing yards (9,194).

There were some character and leadership concerns with Cook, which may have led to his fall down the draft board after he was projected mostly as a second-round pick. That may not worry the Raiders as much considering he won’t be coming in to compete for a starting role and, in fact, will have some work to do even just to beat out McGloin, who will enter his fourth season with the Raiders.

Cook dismissed all that pre-draft talk, which included chatter that he wasn’t popular with his teammates and concern over him not being selected a captain, a rarity for a quarterback.

“I don’t think you can win that many games and be that successful at a program without being a leader,” Cook said. “I think all that stuff was just so far from the truth. Everything will work itself out. If people want to talk and say all that stuff and they’ve never even sat down and talked to me or got to know me as a person. We were successful for a reason. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say. I’m just looking forward to this whole new journey and getting a chance to just be a part of a great organization and just go out there and compete.”

Cook is the Raiders’ second straight Michigan State selection after they took linebacker Shilique Calhoun in Friday’s third round. He was the No. 4 ranked quarterback in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com and some mock drafts even had him being looked at in the first round. Instead, he ended up as the seventh quarterback off the board, with Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, North Carolina State’s Jacoby Brissett and USC’s Cody Kessler going ahead of him.

“I’m glad that I found a home,” Cook said. “It was a little bit of a wait, but I’m glad that the whole process is over.

Accuracy wasn’t exactly Cook’s strong suit, with a completion percentage of just 56.1 percent as a senior and just 57.5 for his career. According to ESPN, he had the fourth-worst completion percentage among Power 5 quarterbacks on passes of 10 yards or fewer.

That’s something he’ll have a chance to work on in Oakland and he’s already been in contact with quarterbacks coach Todd Downing.

“It was really laid back,” Cook said of that conversation. “He was just saying that he was looking forward to getting an opportunity to coach me, looking forward to me getting into those facilities and getting to know everyone, and just congratulating me on being a Raider.”


Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • Every ILB drafted from Perry up.

  • TrevJo

    Because the blog experts would hate that pick!!

  • LOL – so we traded up for him

    This is stupid seriously I am just going to say it

  • Charlie

    Neither do many teams.
    Denver is the prime example.
    Build the oline and turn fifth round picks into 1000 yard rushers.
    Been doing it since the mid seventies.

  • Gdog


  • Back-N-Black

    keep reminding us you’re a douche bag by trolling my post.

  • How did Carr do w/l in yr 1? I forgot…

  • Ghost of Jeff Hostetler

    FFS who is still on the board @ RB?

  • Agree with all of that.
    Only way we trade Cook is if Carr gets hurt or stinks, and Cook comes in and plays well.
    And in that case, why would we want to trade him then?

  • Damn oh well.

  • TrevJo

    Is that why 90% of our draft picks are 23 years old or older?

  • LOL – let them be mad bro?

  • Charlie


  • SnBG

    No he doesn’t, he’s said as much.

  • SB3

    Hell yeah! He is gonna be an awesome pro. I like him more than Fournette even.

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    It’s true. But I don’t have to like it. I did like the Met game yesterday however. The 3rd inning, at least.

  • TrevJo

    Devontae Booker, Kenneth Dixon, Alex Collins

  • There is still hope for Ferguson!

  • Gdog

    He alone destroyed my Hawkeyes…

  • When did McGloin get a 5 million raise – link

    If that was true then yeah I can see it but seriously so many positions of need

  • SnBG

    You’re the devil. You like people fighting.

  • Ghost of Jeff Hostetler

    I hope for Collins

  • This is the last blog Reg would have any spies on

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    My favorite out of those 3.

  • Yes I am – and I am here to do the devils work

  • Gdog

    Al LIVES! A gunslinger that can’t complete a 3 yard pass!

    The Roos are kinda quite except the Koolaid guzzlers…

  • Charlie

    More than he is worth.
    McGloin has no negotiating leverage to jerk us around.
    We had to offer him a second round tender this offseason because we had no options.

    Remember what happened to us when Hue thought Boller was good enough to be our backup.

  • You overestimate Malcolm’s abilities. He is a solid effort player, but covers like a napkin and is only okay against the run. He’s a backup level talent.

  • SB3

    Kid is freaking amazing man. So versatile.

  • Oak R8rs33.01


  • SnBG

    True, that’s cool, you don’t have to. I like the fact that Reg is drafting guys that our coaches can mold into what they want to do on D especially.

  • Back-N-Black

    Me and rifflicks were discussing him last night. He is a fav of mind but not really a thumper. He has great stats though.

  • pistolpete9

    Collins or Johnson both from Arkansas

  • Dakota

    New post.

  • Teabag McKenz

    Paul Perkins.

  • Gdog

    Why put a 2nd round tender on him?

  • Scary & Dunk sure are taking there time rolling out the new blog

  • inonewordraider

    I like heeneys potential but not a fan of malcolm, we play mostly 3-4 so ball is both of their backups? Ilb seems like a weakness

  • Dave

    gaah, you are not the real dakota

  • Raider O

    Raider Hater!

    I’m glad you knew I was joking

  • inonewordraider

    Drunk tank?

  • Raideralex99

    If you noticed the good defences always rotate their guys and you can never have enough of them especially because of injuries.
    Who rotates QB?

  • Mr Football

    My bad. Missed the 2 in typing. Shouldave been 2.5mil +

  • Cut blocking scheme
    They did not have big uglies

  • Raider O

    But that’s not my point. I wanted to draft J Perry to compete with Smith, Ball, and Heeney after we passed on Jack and didn’t trade up for him.

  • Raider O

    It’s a joke dude. He knows I’m joking

  • Charlie

    The point is that nobody in this draft would be better than him NEXT season for us.
    Just knowing our system and working with norton for years is a huge advantage.

  • Charlie

    No rookie steps in to this defense and plays better than Smith next year.
    Especially a rookie drafted in round two which is where we would have taken a backer after Joseph.
    Smith’s knowledge of Norton’s system alone is huge as the Mike.

  • Charlie

    Zone blocking scheme.
    It all starts up front is the point.

  • Charlie

    After this draft you think we might just play a bit more 4-3 with Mack at LB?

    Lots of options when we actually start to build a solid Dline.