What the scouts say about Bills picks, RB James Cook and LB Terrel Bernard
In Round 2, the Bills gambled in a big way by drafting Georgia's James Cook. He could bring special versatility to Buffalo's offense, but scouts are skeptical. Their full analysis inside.
(Note: With our heavy number of Bills fans who subscribe, we wanted to pass along the extended scouting reports on their top pick. Bob’s full nine-part series, with full rankings, can be read at the links below.)
James Cook, a running back from Georgia, was the Buffalo Bills’ selection in the second round (No. 63 overall).
JAMES COOK, RB, Georgia
Fact/Stat: Fourth-year senior, started merely six of 50 games …Never rushed for more than 303 yards until 2021, when he split time with Zamir White and gained 728 … Third-down specialist for national champs with 67 career catches.
What NFL scouts told me about him before the draft…
AFC scout: “He gets a lot of play because he’s Dalvin’s brother but he’s nowhere near Dalvin Cook. He’s got a little bit of juice but he’s not real big. He can catch out of the backfield. I can see somebody taking him as a third-down back. He’s under Rachaad White for me.”
NFC scout: ”I think his most carries in a game was 10. Dalvin’s brother. Competitive little guy, which you would expect. He maximizes what he has. He might hang around as a backup and special teamer. Third back. Not much talent. People are trying to make something out of him but I’m confused by that.”
AFC scout: “He would be the best receiving threat (of the running backs).”
NFC scout: “He has the versatility to do a lot of different things. He may not be a true No. 1 running back but as a 1B he can do things in the passing game. He’d be a good, solid rotation guy that will make some plays for you.”
AFC scout: “Late third round. He didn’t start behind Zamir White. Played on passing downs. Excellent receiver. Has quickness in his routes. Makes big plays. Productive as a complementary back but never as a starter.”
NFC scout: “Underutilized. Not as talented as his brother but talented enough to get drafted in the late third or fourth round. He’s a backup only. He catches the shit out of the ball but he can’t run the ball.”
AFC scout: “Smooth, one-cut slasher with linear burst. Like his production as a receiver but didn’t see dynamic or creative run skills, instincts or elusiveness. Most production was straight line and clear path. Not real big or violent. Unselfish teammate, stays humble, loves ball.”
AFC scout: “They split him out as a receiver. Average size but he’s athletic and explosive with acceleration and good speed. He can exploit a crease on inside runs. Can jump cut with quick feet and balance. He’s got the speed to get outside. He’s sudden in space. Has natural hands. Ripped off an 82-yard run against Alabama in 2020. He ran by guys that had pursuit angles on him. His issue is pass protection. He’s not real big. He’s done kick returning. Third-round area.”
AFC scout: “He’s a down the line guy.”
Terrel Bernard, a linebacker from Baylor, was the Bills’ selection in the third round (No. 89 overall).
TERREL BERNARD, LB, Baylor
Hometown: La Porte, Texas.
Fact/Stat: Fifth-year senior, three-year starter … Finished his injury-riddled career with 317 tackles (31 ½ for loss), 16 ½ sacks, three interceptions, no forced fumbles and 12 passes defensed.
What NFL scouts told me about him before the draft…
AFC scout: “He’s better than the Wyoming guy (Chad Muma) but he’s little and he had a broken shoulder last year. He is a football-playin’ dude. A great kid, and really, really smart. Remember, Dat Nguyen was 218 at his pro day, too.”
NFC scout: “He’s just little. He’s got some quickness. He’s extraordinarily smart. Great makeup. He’s a leader. He’s an alpha. But he’s small, and in the NFL they start running power at you. They’re going to make you go straight down the pipe and take on that 330-pound pulling guard. He’s going to get bounced around. He’s tough, but he’s not strong. I wish I could say I liked him more. Put it this way: if he succeeds, it wouldn’t surprise me. He’s the type of guy that will find a way.”
AFC scout: “It wouldn’t surprise me if he could wear the green dot.”
NFC scout: “He can wear the green dot.”
AFC scout: “Undersized guy but he’s a good player. Late pick. He ran in the 4.5s. Best in space and laterally. He can rush the passer. Times his blitzes. Drops easy. Can cover.”
NFC scout: “Small guy that plays hard but very limited. He got beat up trying to take on. Not a very good athlete. He knows how to play. He’s got instincts. Free agent.”
AFC scout: “He can wear the green dot. Really smart. Just a really good player. Undersized, a little stiff, little limited in space. He just really has a nose for the ball and he always finds it. I do think he’ll be a low-end starter. You’ll want better but it’s hard to find teams that have three linebackers better than him.”
NFC scout: “He’s a versatile, every-down starter if he’s able to gain weight and stay healthy. All ball all the time. Confident, but not arrogant. Hard practice player. He’s the type you would hire to be a coach after he is done playing.”
AFC scout: “Definitely he could wear the green dot.”
NFC scout: “He’s too small and doesn’t make enough plays for me. Fifth or sixth round.”