The New Orleans Saints needed to find someone to help replace Darren Sproles and his 604 receiving yards from 2013, and the organization did just that by taking wide receiver Brandin Cooks in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Year after year, Drew Brees continues to be one of the most elite quarterbacks to ever play the game. Overshadowed by Peyton Manning, Brees had a terrific season in 2013 with 5,162 passing yards, 11 games with 300 or more passing yards, 39 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Now with the Carolina Panthers asserting dominance in the NFC South, Brees needs to be surrounded with younger and more explosive playmakers.
The receiving core for the Saints has quickly aged with 30-year-old Marques Colston and 29-year-old Robert Meachem, and too much was placed on Jimmy Graham‘s shoulders this past season. The young Kenny Stills is a bright spot on the offense, but the Saints needed Sproles to perform like a younger version of himself to slip in and out of tackles. Sproles started to lose his elusiveness before he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, but adding Cooks will bring that playmaking ability New Orleans desperately needs to out maneuver NFC opponents in 2014.
Cooks was able to perform as a dual-threat receiver with Oregon State, as he totaled 1,730 receiving yards, 16 receiving touchdowns, 217 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in his final college season. He is super quick, and he will cause headaches for any defense that is trying to contain him.
With the size and strength of Graham, the experience of Colston and Meachem and the speed and explosiveness of Cooks, the Saints should return to the top of the NFC South in 2014.