Earlier today, Mile High Report and our fans got the chance to sit down with Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks thanks to a Google Hangout. Cooks is projected to a first or second round draft pick, and the player some call "the next Steve Smith" has even been mock-drafted to the Broncos a handful of times.
Cooks was a lot of fun to talk to, and had some interesting insights on the draft process, his career as a college player, and the Denver Broncos. Here are some of the highlights from that Hangout.
All about the Broncos
When asked what NFL quarterback he would ideally like to catch passes from, Cooks had a favorable answer for Broncos fans:
"That's a good one. That's a hard one, as a matter of fact. I would say Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Those guys are some special quarterbacks, who've been in the game for a while. So having a vet like that, would be fun to play with.
Cooks also confirmed that him and the Broncos had a formal interview at the NFL combine:
"Yeah, I spoke with them at the combine, we had a formal interview. Coach Fox was in there, so I was able to meet him and talk to those guys (editor's note: Elway? Gase?). There was some interest, it seemed like, so we'll see throughout the process."
When asked about what he could contribute in year one to the Broncos, or another team, Cooks replied with this:
"I bring so many different aspects to the game. In the return game, being able to catch the deep ball, blowing the top off, I'm able to catch those underneath routes. As we saw, Percy Harvin had a couple fly sweeps in the Super Bowland look what he did with them. I feel like those are the type of things I can do, and I know I can do it, so the team is getting a total package from me." (Cooks was apologetic for bringing up Harvin's Super Bowl plays as an example, Broncos fans).
Cooks also had a formal interview with the Chiefs, with Andy Reid and the receivers coach present.
"I feel like I'm one of those guys who have speed, but at the same time, I can get in and out of my breaks as fast as anyone else. You hear nowadays that fast guys can't get out of their breaks, but I don't think that's the case with me."
Monty decided to stir up some trouble, asking Cooks if he had a favourite NFL team:
"I did have one, but now that I'm getting ready to get picked by any of the 32 teams, I kind of keep that out of the picture. You're trying to get me in trouble now! Growing up, my whole family were 49ers fans, being that I'm from Northern California. That's what I was always surrounded by my whole life, growing up."
When asked what the first thing he'd do when drafted, Cooks showed a hard-working mindset:
"I'm calling that quarterback, I'm going to get the playbook, and we're going to get to work. I'm not coming in to sit behind someone, I'm coming in to be a starter, and come help the team right away."
I asked Cooks what the most attractive thing about the Denver Broncos organization was to him:
"Did y'all just see those three blockbuster deals that just happened? To have a defense like that, I'll go to war with them any day. They just signed some monsters, so that was definitely attractive. But at the same time, obviously, Peyton Manning. That guy right there, he puts the ball in the bread basket so you don't have to make those spectacular catches. He puts it on the money every time, he's one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever do it."
Cooks also thinks that he would be a great fit in the Broncos' short-pass and yards-after-catch game. He got plenty of experience at Oregon State doing the same thing, and he feels that he can dip and dodge around tacklers once he gets the ball in his hands.
Draft and combine questions
When asked about how his Pro Day went, Cooks said, "It went well. All I did was run routes and catch punts. I walked out of there happy and pretty satisfied with what I did today."
When asked about the added attention during the pre-draft process and what his favourite part has been, Cooks said that his favourite part has been the interview process, because he feels that's where he sets himself apart character-wise from other players. Cooks cited the fact that he has no off-the-field issues that plague some other players, so in the interviews he was able to talk strictly football and the coaches could get to know him as a football player, rather than talking about off-field issues. In regards to the on-field drills, Cooks said that he felt that he solidified himself as the best route-runner in the draft.
On his plans for draft day:
"Still figuring that out. Might go to New York or might stay at home and rent out a suite."
Characteristics of Cooks' game:
When asked about his size and whether he can play the slot/outside:
"Definitely, I feel like I can play in the slot, and I know I can play on the outside. Obviously they question (my size), but you know, you have guys in the league now and in the past who have done well on the outside, you've got Steve Smith and Desean Jackson. With me, being on the outside, I'm able to blow the top off and I'm able to catch those drag routes and take it the distance. For myself I'm not too much worried about my size, I know what I can do and what I can bring to the team. And being so versatile in the return game also, that's definitely sets me apart from the other receivers in this class."
"I talk on the field, I talk at the right moments. I can get in your head a bit, I'm not afraid of anyone. I go out there and have fun, and by having fun you talk a little bit of trash, but that's football for you."
MHR writer, Christopher Hart, who wrote our scouting report on Cooks, was wondering about the talented receiver's pre-game rituals. It turns out that he's got quite the process:
"It's a whole process. Once I get into the locker room, I'm listening to my music, some hip-hop. Right before we head up out, I obviously read my Bible and throw on some slow jams. I put on Michael Jackson cause I think I'm a "smooth criminal" (laughing), that's my thing."
Cooks was asked by one of the hangout members about which current NFL player he molds his game after. In reply, the Oregon State receiver said that his game is molded after Steve Smith. He mentioned being a player who's considered to be undersized, a great route-runner, and being a player who's not afraid of anyone and willing to do whatever it takes to win as the reasons behind that comparison.
When asked about an aspect of his game that sets him apart from the rest of the WR draft class, Cooks cited the style of offense at Oregon State:
"I think I'm very versatile and that I have the best routes in this class. Another advantage I have is coming from a pro system. Going into these pro-style systems in the NFL, they won't have to coach me as much because of my background coming from that system."
Cooks said that if he could improve one part of his game, he said that his blocking would be the first thing that he wants to address.
It was a great time getting to know Cooks in the Google Hangout; we even found out his favourite movie of all-time (Law Abiding Citizen) and his favourite recent movie (Prisoners). The young Oregon State receiver is definitely someone who could be a quick fit in the Broncos' offense, and he sounds like a great guy off the field as well. For MHR's scouting report on Cooks, follow this link. You can also find the full video of the hangout, with a few additional questions here.