The last five months have not been so hot for Emanuel Cook, but the former South Carolina safety at least has a team.
After going undrafted over the weekend, Cook has signed a free agent deal with the New York Jets, according to The Star-Ledger in New Jersey.
It now should be painfully clear to Cook and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn that they received some bad advice to leave school early. Munnerlyn went in the seventh round to the Carolina Panthers.
Cook really didn’t have much of a choice but to enter the draft after he was ruled ineligible for the Outback Bowl. As Steve Spurrier alluded to late in the 2008 season, it seems several players got too caught up in listening to people tell them what great NFL players they would be – and you can put Cook and Munnerlyn at the top of that list.
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Both went to Texas to train with Deion Sanders for the combine, never mind the fact that it was a first-year training facility that included the distracting presence of TV cameras shooting the NFL Network’s reality series, “Prime U.” Subsequently, Cook and Munnerlyn went to Indianapolis and ran slow 40 times.
Meanwhile, USC fifth-year corner Stoney Woodson, who was not invited to the combine, trained in Columbia, outperformed Cook and Munnerlyn at USC’s pro day and was drafted by the New York Giants in the seventh round – 22 spots behind Munnerlyn.
Look, Sunday was a great day for USC’s program. Seven Gamecocks were drafted – tied with Oregon State and Ohio State for the second behind Southern Cal’s 11. For all intents and purposes, it was the best draft showing in school history (the nine players taken in the 1954 draft included six after the 10th round).
And I’m not one to be overly critical of players leaving early. We don’t know their personal situations, and college isn’t for everyone.
Maybe Cook and Munnerlyn will use the weekend’s events as motivation to make their respective clubs. They can be sure Spurrier will use it, too – as a teaching tool to get players to think long and hard before they jump.