Leading up to the 2014 season at 49ers.com, we’ll get to know new and intriguing players. We continue our series with cornerback
1. He played quarterback and wide receiver in high school, just not at the same time.
The Lynchburg, Va. native also played running back and cornerback for Heritage High School. Cook, a first-team All-State selection, was a decorated prep and had his choice of colleges. He stayed at home.
2. He proved his resiliency and strength at Virginia.
Cook missed the second half of his freshman season, when he was teammates with linebacker
For the Minnesota Vikings, the team that drafted him 34th overall in 2010, Cook is coming off career highs in games (12) and tackles (47) but not his best season. He’ll need to bounce back once again.
3. He's big, and he's going to be using his size.
At 6 feet, 2 inches and 212 pounds (eight up from his college weight), Cook is currently the 49ers biggest cornerback by a healthy margin. (Think 2013 draftee Marcus Cooper, now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, but with a body that has spent four seasons in the NFL.) Defensive coaches here, including play caller Vic Fangio and position coach Ed Donatell have told Cook they want him to specialize in playing press, man-to-man coverage. Cook said he believes this – plus Fangio’s scheme, which plays one safety deeper than the other as opposed to splitting them – fits his skill set best.
4. He wants to be himself, and he wants to be a 49er.
After his first four seasons in Minnesota, where things didn’t always go according to plan, Cook’s potential has been compared to the production of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who stands at 6 feet, 3 inches. “He’s a great player, and I respect him a lot,” Cook said. “We have similar body types, but I don’t compare myself to him. I’m just coming in to prove myself.”
5. He's seeking his first NFL interception.
Cook has recorded 123 tackles, including a sack, and 13 pass deflections entering his fifth season in the league. But his next pick will be his first. Help him celebrate when it happens. Cook’s words on coming to San Francisco: “When I walked in the building, I felt at home.”
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