The Oregon State Beavers sported one of nation’s best passing offenses in 2013 thanks in large part to the breakout season of wide receiver Brandin Cooks. After being a solid No. 2 receiver in 2012, Cooks emerged as a No. 1 receiver for the Beavers this season and had one of the best seasons in school history. That historic season was also one of the best in the nation and Cooks will skip his senior season in Corvallis with his draft stock at its highest and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
Cooks led the nation in receiving this season, averaging 133.1 yards per game and 9.8 catches per game. He set Pac-12 records with 128 receptions for 1,730 yards with a school-record 16 touchdowns. His efforts earned him the Biletnikoff Award this season as the nation’s top wide receiver and was named a first-team All-American as Sean Mannion‘s favorite receiving target. He finishes his college career with 226 catches for 3,272 yards and 26 total touchdowns, with a school-record 24 of them receiving.
His explosive playmaking makes him a valuable asset in the passing game and will make him a strong addition to whichever team ends up drafting him. Cooks has been evaluated as a second-round draft choice by the NFL Draft Advisory Committee but could sneak into the first round if he has strong workouts for NFL scouts between now and the draft. His versatility and ability to score in multiple aspects of the game (receiving, rushing, and returning) makes him a dynamic weapon that can swing the momentum of a game when given the opportunity.
For Oregon State, it’s a major blow to their 2014 roster and they’ll need someone to step up in the receiving corps in a major way next season. Richard Mullaney finished second on the team this season in receiving with 52 receptions for 788 yards and three touchdowns while tight end Connor Hamlett finished second in touchdown receptions with five as he hauled in 40 passes for 364 yards. Mullaney emerged this season as an explosive threat, averaging a team-high 15.15 yards per reception. Will they be able to pick up the slack in 2014?