The New Orleans Saints drafted WR Brandin Cooks in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Many have suggested that he will fill the “Darren Sproles role” in the Saints offense this year. However, while the talented rookie WR from Oregon State University has landed in a great offense, he may not have an immediate impact this season in fantasy football.
Cooks has excellent speed, running a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash. He also has good hands and is able to avoid tackles due to his nimbleness. During his last two seasons at Oregon State, Cooks had almost 3,000 receiving yards and over 20 TDs. He has great physical attributes and the raw talent needed to succeed in the NFL.
Moreover, Cooks has landed in one of the best offensive units in the league. Last year, New Orleans had the second-most passing yards in the league behind only the Denver Broncos. Drew Brees threw for over 5,100 yards and 39 TDs in 2013, and there are plenty of opportunities for Cooks to produce in the Saints’ high-octane offense if he can prove himself.
Rookie WRs often struggle during their first season, taking a year or two to fully adjust in the league. While Cooks has good hands and the ability to rack up yards after the catch with his speed and agility, he will need to work on his route running, particularly in the complex offensive scheme that Saints head coach Sean Payton runs.
Additionally, while he will have an elite QB throwing to him, Brees tends to spread the ball around. Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston figure to receive the majority of targets on the team, and Kenny Stills may see more snaps this year. Cooks is also not a red zone threat, measuring at only 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds. Much of his production may rely on yards after the catch, and Cooks figures to be more valuable in PPR leagues.
Cooks is a talented rookie in a great offense, but it’s still up in the air how much he will be utilized his first year with the Saints. While the potential is there, Cooks is a late-round flier right now and should only be drafted as your WR4 or WR5.
Bye Week: 6
Projected Round: 10
Auction Value: $0