Grading the ‘Boys: Ryan Cook 2012 Grade
My latest “Grading the ‘Boys” post is up at Dallas News: an analysis of center Ryan Cook.
As I did with every lineman, I tracked the average length of carries behind Cook in 2012. Cook was at the point-of-attack on 105 of his 293 run snaps, and Cowboys running backs averaged 3.41 YPC on those rushes. That number looks poor on the surface, but there’s one reason it’s better than you think. The majority of the runs on which Cook was at the point came with guard Mackenzy Bernadeau—and not Nate Livings—at the point. As I detailed in my analysis of Bernadeau’s season, the guard struggled mightily this year, dragging down the YPC of the blockers around him.
Cook was hardly dominant in the running game, especially when you consider his size, but he was superior to Bernadeau. There’s evidence of that in the location of runs behind Cook; those with Bernadeau also at the point averaged only 3.10 yards. In comparison, rushes with Cook and Livings at the point—and not Bernadeau—totaled 4.40 yards.
In pass protection, Cook was one of the Cowboys’ better performers. Earlier this year, I broke down the pressure and sack rates for Cook and every other lineman. Then, I compared those rates to top players at their respective positions, assigning them a rating of how they stacked up. In those 2012 linemen ratings, Cook—who allowed two sacks and pressure on 2.2 percent of his snaps—received the highest grade. Cook was actually on par with many other top 10 centers from around the league.