Happy Friday to the MHR family and to Broncos fans across the globe! Today I will be focusing on one of the NFL Draft's most electric playmakers, junior wide out Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State, who will also be joining the staff of MHR for a Google Hangout session and interview which will be available later today for you to view.
The 2014 NFL Draft wide receiver class is one of the deepest in recent memory and perhaps is the deepest position in the whole draft, which had a record 98 underclassmen declare to make their talents eligible for the NFL. One of those early declarations is Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who was the 2013 recipient of the Biletnikoff Award for being the nations top wide receiver. As a junior, Cooks (nicknamed "Sonic Boom") hauled in a whopping 128 catches for an astounding 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. His electrifying play on the field helped lead the Beavers to a 7-6 overall record in the PAC-12 Conference and earned him First-Team All-Pac 12 and Consensus All-American accolades.
Recently, Cooks caught he eyes of scouts in Indianapolis at the Combine where he ran a blistering 4.33 40 yard dash, and also posted great numbers recording a 3.81 shuttle, 6.76 in the 3 cone drill, a broad jump of 10 foot even and pumping out 16 reps of 225 on the bench. He will have the opportunity to improve upon those numbers today at Oregon State's Pro Day but for now -- lets have a breakdown on the positives, negatives and overall outlook for Cooks as the NFL Draft approaches.
Brandin Cooks, WR - Junior - Oregon State
5'10, 189 pounds, 4.33 40 yard dash.
Freshman: 12 GP, 31 catches, 391 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Sophomore: 13 GP, 67 catches, 1,151 yards, 5 touchdowns.
Junior: 13 GP, 128 catches, 1,730 yards, 16 touchdowns.
Career Totals: 38 GP, 226 receptions, 3,272 yards, 24 touchdowns.
Positives: Explosive, dynamic athlete who has a great initial burst off the line and the deep speed to stretch the field and challenge defenses vertically in the passing game. An absolute monster in the open field – showing the vision, patience, agility and change of direction skills to maneuver around defenders. Due to such skills, he is extraordinarily efficient with gaining yardage after the catch. Efficient route runner who is smooth in and out of his cuts and breaks and is definitely polished in this regard in comparison to other receivers in this class. Quickness off the line often helps him gain quality separation against defenders, and has the football IQ and acumen to rip apart zone defenses. Not afraid to go over the middle and has a penchant for making the tough grab, quality body control and awareness help tremendously with those efforts. Fantastic production-- some of the best numbers out of any receiver in college football in back to back years.
Additionally, Cooks uses correct technique when catching the ball, using his hands to pluck balls out of the air as opposed to catching it with his body. By all accounts is a team leader, and approaches his game in a professional demeanor and work ethic that will suit him well in his NFL endeavors. Has experience as a punt returner and could contribute as a special teamer in the NFL. Despite being undersized, has never missed a game due to injury and is extremely durable, often using his instincts and smarts to get out of bounds before taking on the big hits. Extreme upside and talent ability, only 20 years old and will have time to grow and develop as a professional -- got better every year he was with the Beavers at Oregon State.
Negatives: Undersized and doesn’t have the length teams covet in regards to wide receivers. Doesn’t have great upper body strength and may have issues being physical enough to consistently beat man and press-man coverage in the NFL. Doesn't offer much in the realm of blocking. Needs to concentrate on reeling in the ball and then going forward – often is ahead of himself and drops catches or produces fumbles by not living in the moment and trying to do too much at one time.
Overall: A dynamic performer on the field and one of the most dangerous playmakers in the draft, Cooks is about to follow in the footsteps of former teammate, Markus Wheaton who was a third round draft choice for the Pittsburgh Steelers in last year’s draft. I was a huge fan of Wheaton last year, but Cooks in undoubtedly the better prospect coming out of school -- and that is saying quite a bit. Any team who is in need of playmaking wide receiver would be a fool to pass on Brandin Cooks. He is one of the most talented and gifted wide receivers in all the draft and has all-world athleticism to go with it. He is an extremely productive and durable prospect who would be able to come in and contribute on an NFL team immediately. His professionalism and dedication to the game is a welcomed breath of fresh air, when all you hear about are primadonna's and diva's at the position (Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon -- I'm talking 'bout you.)
Projected to go in the late first to early second round, Cook will be in no shortage of suitors come May. His best fit might be in an offensive system where he can be effectively utilized in the slot to create mismatches at the professional level, but certainly has the grit, demeanor and ability to play on the outside. From a Broncos fan perspective, Cooks would be a wonderful replacement for Wes Welker, whose contract expires with the Broncos following the end of the 2014 season. Could remind some Broncos fans of ex-Broncos wide receiver Eddie Royal, who was viewed in quite a similar light when he came out of Virginia Tech. However, Broncos fans should know immediately that Cooks' potential as a returner and receiver far exceed what Royal has, can or ever will do in the NFL.
Miscellaneous: Cooks not only excelled on the gridiron, but also as a member of Oregon State University’s track team. He boasts a time of 6.81 seconds in the 60 meters, 10.72 in the 100 meters and 21.59 seconds in 200 meters. (Yeah, he's that fast!)
Reminder: Cooks will chat with Broncos Country at 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 14th in our Google Hangout! Come get your question answered by a future NFL playmaker.
So Broncos Country, would you like to see Brandin Cooks wearing orange and blue in 2014?