Scouting Report: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
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Brandin Cooks is one of my favorite receivers in this year’s class, and I am not alone. The Oregon State star is clearly one of the best athletes in this year’s draft, but Cooks is more than just an athlete. At 185 pounds, he has a lot in common with big play guys like DeAnthony Thomas and Dri Archer. The thing is, while those guys will need to become receivers to play big roles at the next level, Cooks is already there ... in a big way. I have very little in terms of questions when it comes to this kid. He is a very complete receiver.
He reminds me of a young Steve Smith both in terms of swagger and in terms of ability. Though I’d have to say that Cooks is ahead of Smith at this stage of his career. Like Smith, Cooks is simply too quick and athletic for most cornerbacks to deal with man on man.
Let’s break down Cook’s positives as we see them.
- Speed - Cook can really fly and we’ll get a handle on just how fast this weekend in Indianapolis. His speed on film is very real, so we expect a good performance.
- Agility and quickness - He’s fast yes, but his ability to break ankles is right there with any running back in this year’s class. He’s also quick and can abuse people in space.
- Balance - He’s the total package as he has the great balance that you see with the better tailbacks, and that’s dangerous when you already have great speed and agility.
- Hands - None of the above would matter much if Cooks couldn't catch, but he has some of best hands I’ve seen in this year’s group. He catches the ball effortlessly--snatching it out of the air like Torry Holt used to. He’s a natural hands catcher.
- Ball skills - When the ball is in the air, Cook uses his athleticism to get his smaller frame in position to make plays and his great hands take over from there. This kid makes an astonishing number of plays in traffic for a smallish 185 pound receiver.
- Vision - Once he gets out in space, he sees seams and creases and has the ability to run to daylight.
- Routes - He’s a complete receiver and his routes are fluid and precise. He gets in and out of breaks effortlessly.
- Production - Cooks shared the spotlight with Markus Wheaton in 2012, but he erupted in 2013 as the clear number one option.
- Health - I normally avoid health issues unless that are material concerns, but it is worth mentioning that Cooks has stayed healthy despite his size and a rough and tumble style.
I’ve got three videos for you to check out. The first is a mashup of Cooks versus Hawaii and Utah from this season. The second is a mashup of this year’s bowl game against Boise State. The third is a highlight reel.
There are so many positives with Cooks and they are all on display if you watch the footage. He’s a very smooth and confident receiver and he was the central component in the Beavers’ offense this year. That’s impressive for a smallish receiver.
There’s not much to criticize with Brandin, but one thing he’ll need to keep working on is his release. Things obviously get tougher at the next level. That being said, he has the quick feet to get the job done and he’ll be nearly impossible to handle when he works from the slot.
If the Patriots were to let Julian Edelman go in free agency, this is the kind of player they might replace him with. He could be Tom Brady’s favorite toy very quickly, and, like Edelman, he can play outside or inside. Heck, Cooks can play tailback if you want him to. Others teams that we see Cooks going to include Washington, Denver, Carolina, New Orleans and Cleveland.
For fantasy purposes, Cooks will be worth something right away unless he gets absolutely buried on a deep depth chart like Green Bay’s. That’s not likely to happen. This is a name to know and that goes for folks in all formats, long term and redraft. Brandin Cooks is game-ready.
Brandin Cooks’ Combine Numbers
- Height - 5’10”
- Weight - 189
- Hands - 9 5/8”
- 40 - 4.33
- Bench - 16 reps
- Vertical Jump - 36”
- Broad Jump - 120”
- 3-Cone Drill - 6.76
- 20 YD Shuttle - 3.81
- 60 YD Shuttle - 10.72
Well, if our guy didn’t have the NFL’s attention going into Indianapolis, he certainly does now. Cooks is looking more and more like a lock first rounder. Everything we saw on film showed up at the Combine. Cooks was also one of the more engaging kids in the interview room. He was cocky but very likable.
Other 2014 Scouting Reports:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
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- Wide Receiver Rankings Week 2
- Running Back Rankings Week 2
- Quarterback Rankings Week 2
- The Waiver Wire 9/12