2019 Season Rewind
After a season-ending injury cost Case Cookus the last ten games of the 2018 season at Northern Arizona, he returned for his final year of eligibility and broke both the program's all-time passing yards and passing touchdown records with 4,115 passing yards, 31 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
Cookus accomplished these feats outside of the Power 5 ranks playing in the Big Sky Conference at the FCS level, but still resembled an NFL prospect with ideal size at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. His play in 2019 was highlighted by passing accuracy and team leadership.
Cookus' best game came at home against Northern Colorado on October 5, when he threw for a career-high five passing touchdowns as part of 406 passing yards. He then broke his career yardage mark in the final game of the season, throwing for 450 passing yards at home against Idaho.
Throughout the 2019 season, Cookus' completion percentage never dipped below 52 percent and only had one multi-interception game, that coming against Illinois State in September.
Cookus' play remained consistent throughout the season and didn't see any significant drop-offs as time went on, and he even cut down on interceptions down the stretch.
He went from passing for 2,075 yards, 18 touchdowns, and six interceptions at a 57 percent completion rate in the first six games, to 2,039 yards for 11 touchdowns and one interception at a 63.2 percent completion percentage in the final six games.
However, Cookus' consistency throughout the season didn't translate to wins as the team finished the season 1-5 after a 3-3 start.
Despite the poor record, Cookus' play and character put him on the watchlist for the 2019 Walter Payton Award and FCS Performer of the Year. Most importantly, Cookus began to garner attention among NFL scouts as a potential under-the-radar quarterback prospect.
As a sort of icing on the cake, Yahoo Sports named Cookus as one of the best small-school quarterback prospects since Jimmy Garoppolo.
As an undrafted free agent, Cookus is one of five quarterbacks on the Giants' roster. Come training camp, he will have to compete with Alex Tanney, and Cooper Rush for a roster spot as Daniel Jones and Colt McCoy seemed to be all but locked in to make the Giants 53-man roster.
Cookus seems to have many of the same qualities Daniel Jones had coming out of college in last year's draft.
Among those are the ideal height for the quarterback position, adequate mobility in the pocket, and the ability to deliver throws at all levels of the field with great timing, touch, and accuracy.
Cookus has yet to prove whether he can apply those skills against tougher competition. Without any experience at the NFL level and virtually no experience against top-end college football talent, the NFL learning curve will be a steep one for the now 24-year-old Cookus if he hopes to make the roster.
With seven interceptions against FCS competition in 2019, decision making will be among the most significant questions for Cookus' hopes of finding a post on an NFL roster.
Injury history could also dampen Cookus' chances of finding a place on the Giants. In addition to his season-ending injury in 2018, Cookus also suffered an injury to his shoulder while trying to run the football.
While Cookus has talent, two major injuries are dark marks on any player's resume, especially one without proven experience at the higher college ranks.
But if Cookus can stay healthy throughout training camp, learn Jason Garrett's offense and apply the flashes of talent he showed in college to an NFL training camp and preseason, then perhaps a spot on the practice squad might await him.