The kid is the real deal, and has been a dominant player since he stepped foot on A&T’s campus three years ago. Heading into Saturday’s game Cohen had rushed for 4,031 yards, and scored 38 touchdowns.
Really, there is nothing left for the junior running back to prove on the collegiate level. Cohen maybe the most dynamic player in all of college football, but there is no way he will even get a sniff of the Heisman Trophy. His team will not compete for a National championship, even at the FCS level. The best Cohen could do next year is win another MEAC title and Celebration Bowl, and the mythical Black College National Championship.
The question is how much of an NFL prospect is Cohen?
We know the talent is there. Cohen is an incredible athlete. Even before he showed the country his playmaking ability on national television against Alcorn State, he already had a following thanks to his incredible Youtube video.
The video (linked below) shows Cohen catching passes while doing back flips. It not only shows his great athletic ability, but also his great hands. And that is important to note because Cohen will make his money in the NFL catching passes out of the backfield, returning punts and kickoffs and occasional runs from the backfield.
Scouts will look at him the same way they did Darren Sproles, a fourth-round draft pick by San Diego in 2005. Cohen is practically a carbon copy of the 5-6, 190 pound, Sproles in physical stature and playing style.
Sproles, currently in Philadelphia, is in his 11th season, has been a Pro Bowler as a returner, and is effective catching the ball out of the backfield, and running the ball in certain situations. Cohen will have to take a similar path.
The only question remains is where Cohen will be drafted, and if he will be drafted? Will playing at an HBCU in the FCS Division hurt him? It shouldn’t. The history of great players coming out of HBCUs is so long and storied that it doesn’t need to be answered.
If given his just due, Cohen should go in at least the fourth or fifth round. Although his skill set, athleticism and playmaking ability, is much higher than that, the fact he will not be an every down player drops him down. And, inevitably, the fact he played at the FCS will scare some teams off.
Whether it is the 2016 draft, or the 2017 draft, eventually, Tarik Cohen is going to get his opportunity in the NFL. There is going to be an NFL team that will draft him, or sign him as a free agent. I got a feeling that the team that selects him is going to have itself a playmaker.