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FSU's Dalvin Cook slides to Vikings at No. 41; three Gator DBs taken in Round 2

Dalvin Cook, FSU’s all-time rushing 
leader, slides to the Vikings with the 41st overall pick. There were questions involving 
off-field issues coupled with his unimpressive NFL combine numbers.

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Dalvin Cook, FSU’s all-time rushing leader, slides to the Vikings with the 41st overall pick. There were questions involving off-field issues coupled with his unimpressive NFL combine numbers.

After being passed over by the Bucs —and every other team in the first round of Thursday's NFL draft — former Florida State running back Dalvin Cook didn't have to wait too long on Day 2.

The Miami native went to the Vikings with the 41st overall pick Friday night after Minnesota traded up seven spots to get him.

Cook is the highest-drafted Seminoles running back since Warrick Dunn went No. 12 to the Bucs 20 years ago. It's a fitting comparison for the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Cook, who spent his time in Tallahassee chasing Dunn as the best back in program history.

Cook broke Dunn's school record by rushing for 4,464 yards — the most an ACC back has recorded in only three seasons. His 48 total touchdowns (46 rushing, two receiving) were one shy of Dunn's record, even though Dunn spent one more season in Tallahassee than Cook.

Now we will see if Cook can match Dunn's NFL productivity. Dunn made three Pro Bowls and rushed for almost 11,000 yards over his 12 years in the league — his first six with the Bucs, then finishing with the Falcons.

"The Vikings are getting a tremendous player," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Dalvin can be a game-changer at the next level. He's one of the all-time greats to put on a Florida State uniform."

Cook was initially regarded as a first-round talent, but his numbers at last month's NFL scouting combine didn't show the athleticism of a top-tier back. He also had multiple run-ins with the law, including a BB gun fight and a charge that he punched a woman in the face in 2015 (he was acquitted).

Those concerns dropped Cook into the second round — not that the Vikings are complaining. They landed a replacement for the franchise's all-time rushing leader, Adrian Peterson, who signed with the Saints this month.

"I think this kid has really, really matured over the last couple of years," Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman said, "and we have no concerns at all about him being a Minnesota Viking."

The Gators' secondary was the state's other big story Friday night. After the unit was shut out in the first round, three former Florida defensive backs went in the second.

Hard-hitting safety Marcus Maye was the first to go, with the No. 39 overall pick to the Jets. Maye, like the Lions' first-round pick, linebacker Jarrad Davis, considered leaving Florida for the NFL last year. Both returned, and both were rewarded, even though Maye played only nine games last season before sustaining a season-ending shoulder surgery.

Cornerback Jalen Tabor joins Davis in Detroit after the Lions selected him with the No. 53 overall pick.

Tabor drew first-round buzz thanks to eight interceptions over the past two seasons, but his 40-yard dash (in the 4.7-second range) bumped him into the second round.

He said he won't forget the insult. His family watched the draft with shirts that read, "Press play, Watch the tape" — the same message Tabor had for NFL teams after his pro day last month.

The third former UF defensive back, Quincy Wilson, went to the Colts at No. 46. He had three interceptions as a junior (and had a pick-six against Missouri) and starred as a sophomore, too. It was Wilson — not current Bucs defensive back Vernon Hargreaves or Tabor — who shut down Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell, who was a first-round pick last year.

Former FSU defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker joined Cook in the second round, heading to the Broncos at No. 51. The ACC defensive player of the year had 16 sacks last season, second-most in the country and the third-most in Seminoles history.

In the third round, former Gators linebacker Alex Anzalone went to the Saints at No. 76. He had 75 tackles over four injury-plagued seasons at UF.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

FSU's Dalvin Cook slides to Vikings at No. 41; three Gator DBs taken in Round 2 04/28/17 [Last modified: Friday, April 28, 2017 11:17pm]
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