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49ers identify QB Connor Cook as "top priority" in 2016 NFL Draft

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With Colin Kaepernick's future uncertain and the much-maligned Blane Gabbert as the current frontrunner for the starting quarterback job, the San Francisco 49ers appear to be looking to the upcoming NFL draft for an answer at the position.

As reported by Bleacher Report's NFL insider Jason Cole, the California franchise has identified Michigan State QB Connor Cook as a "top priority" heading into the draft on April 28.

Top priority 

The 49ers, after compiling a 5-11 record in 2015, currently hold the seventh pick in the 2016 draft. However, according to Cole, rather than chasing one of this year's top-ranked quarterbacks early on, they hope to snag Cook in the later rounds.

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"According to a source I talked to at the NFL Scouting Combine, Trent Balkee, the General Manager of the San Francisco 49ers, has put a priority on Connor Cook of Michigan State," explained Cole. 

"(This) despite the fact that Cook has taken so much criticism throughout the year for his personality difficulties and didn't throw the ball all that well during Combine drills on Saturday."

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Cook is entering the NFL draft off the back of a four-year career with the Spartans in which he threw for 9,194 yards in 43 games and finished with a touchdown-interception breakdown of 71-22.

There are still those that see him as a first-round QB talent but, after drawing criticism for turning down his Senior Bowl invite and having looked a little ropey in throwing drills at the Combine, there is a growing feeling that Cook could fall to the second round or beyond.

Falling star

This, again according to Cole, is precisely what is attracting Balkee and the 49ers:

"The reason that Balkee likes Cook so much is he likes the value," the Bleacher Report insider explained. "He thinks he'll be able to get Cook in the second or third round of the draft.

"That makes him a much better value that taking some of the other quarterbacks who are in the draft who are expected to go much higher." 

The likes of Carson Wentz, Jeff Goff and Paxton Lynch are amongst the 2016 class' top-rated QBs and all will likely be snapped up within the first half of the first round. 

NFL Combine - Day 4

For San Francisco, a team who are urgent need of upgrades across their roster, saving their coveted number seven pick for a top talent at a different position, and then grabbing Cook later on may just be the best way to go about things come April.

Of course, if Kaepernick and the 49ers are able to resolve their differences before then, the franchise's draft plans could shift altogether.

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Topics:
NFL Draft
Colin Kaepernick
San Francisco 49ers
NFL

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