Grading the New Orleans Saints’ First-Round Selection of Brandin Cooks
After obtaining the No. 20 overall pick from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for pick No. 27 and a third-rounder, the New Orleans Saints selected Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks in the 2014 NFL Draft. The move came as a surprise to me; I felt that New Orleans was better off staying put at 27 due to the amount of depth in this year’s class. However, Cooks has amazing football ability, rendering him the potential to make an immediate impact in coach Sean Payton‘s high-powered offense.
The Saints parted ways with RB Darren Sproles and WR Lance Moore over the offseason, making a new playmaker a top priority. Well, New Orleans sort of knocked on both doors there by acquiring Oregon State’s speedy wideout. Cooks entered the draft as the fastest receiver in his class after running a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Other then Sammy Watkins, Cooks’ quick feet, acceleration and route running skills possibly make him the best at separating from defenders out of all the other receivers on the board. His measurements and athleticism are somewhat reminiscent to those of DeSean Jackson but with a tad bit more muscle. He is a little undersized at 5-foot-10, 189-pounds, but has shown exceptional durability throughout his playing career in both high school and college.
Cooks comes to New Orleans as a full-package threat; he can line up in the slot, on the outside and occasionally in the backfield as a screen option. He did not prove much at Oregon State on special teams, but maybe that can change and he can become a factor in the return game as well. Adding an athlete of his caliber to the roster gives Drew Brees a nice, new toy to play with. With Kenny Stills and Joe Morgan already installed into the Saints’ depth chart, there is going to be some serious speed on the field in the Big Easy.
Overall Grade: B+