Wide receiver Brandin Cooks was one of the most impressive performers at the NFL combine this year. The speedy playmaker ran well and caught the ball with purpose. A player that was expected to be taken in the second round, he’s now going to find himself flying up draft boards for teams that are in need of an explosive playmaker on offense.
One team that definitely fits that mold is the New England Patriots. The Patriots struggled on offense at times last year because they had no one with the speed and athleticism to stretch the field. Cooks, with an impressive unofficial 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, has the kind of raw speed that can blow the top off the defense.
That kind of weapon changes the way the entire offense functions. The problem with the Patriots last year was that safeties didn’t have to respect the deep ball, so they could crowd the middle of the field and take away the shorter routes that the New England offense is based on.
If the Patriots add Cooks to the roster, they will have someone who forces a defense to make a choice, either defend the deep outside or the short middle, and either choice will leave the other open.
A good offense can’t be one dimensional, and the Patriots were just that for long stretches of the year last season. They need a playmaking, exciting receiver who can change the way they call the game from now on.
They would have like to wait until the later rounds to try and draft speed, but Cooks was so impressive at the combine that they must take a serious look at him with their late first-round pick.