The wide receiver position is an issue for the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. With No. 2 wideout Dexter McCluster possibly on his way out of town and Donnie Avery fairly inconsistent as a third receiver, several draft analysts have Kansas City selecting a WR with the No. 23 overall pick.
Bleacher Report’s mock draft projects the Chiefs select LSU‘s Odell Beckham, Jr.; ArrowheadPride.com pegs Vanderbilt‘s Jordan Matthews as Kansas City’s man. For Chiefs Nation itself, it seems a majority enjoy the prospect of Florida State‘s Kelvin Benjamin in a Kansas City uniform for 2014. But one name not being thrown around enough is Oregon State‘s Brandin Cooks.
The 2013 Blietnikoff Award winner notched 1,730 receiving yards last season, the most ever in the Pac-12, while scoring 16 touchdowns in the process. Cooks wasn’t the product of a particularly potent offense; he was the lone stud on a rather mediocre Beavers squad. He’s a menace in the open field, providing more than a few highlight-reel plays during his time in Corvallis.
He’s currently slotted as a late-first, early-second round pick but could rise following the NFL Combine. Let’s take a look at the promising 20-year-old.
Cooks is extremely versatile. Can be utilized effectively in the screen game and as a slot man. He possesses a knack for acrobatic catches and is better at coming down with contested grabs than his size — 5-foot-10, 186 pounds — would suggest. Cooks goes from stationary to full speed rather quickly, exploding off the snap and out of his cuts. He does most of his work following the catch which will seriously benefit check-down extraordinaire Alex Smith. He’s also an above-average route runner with quality hands.
Size is a bit of a concern. He will struggle with run blocking and fending off press coverage. Still, it’s all really just nitpicking with Cooks. His game is as impressive right now as any receiver’s in the draft. None of his flaws should be enough to keep Kansas City from picking him.
Current NFL player comparison
Cooks actually reminds me of Washington Redskins wideout Santana Moss out of Miami in 2001. The two are identical in size, capable of lining up in the slot and outside, and are most dangerous after the catch. Moss, now 34, isn’t the player he once was, but his 10,000-plus career receiving yards suggest his tenure in the league was a successful one overall.
How he’d fit in Kansas City
If McCluster does indeed leave, Cooks would have the inside track to the Chiefs’ second receiver slot. He brings virtually the same skill-set to the table — he’s actually faster and more capable a receiver than McCluster. His game is NFL-ready now and becoming Smith’s new best friend next season isn’t farfetched. He’d likely be the go-to-receiver in third down situations in addition to being called upon often in the red zone with his quickness of the line.
Cooks will be looked back upon as one of the steals of the 2014 NFL Draft. Whoever ends up with the speedster will reap immediate benefits. Why not Kansas City?