When the Saints traded seven spots up in the first round, you just had to know the Saints were eyeing the former Oregon State Beaver in Brandin Cooks. If you know his story, that is.
If you haven't read this piece by Robert Mays from Grantland, you absolutely must. Prior to reading it I obviously knew Cooks would be a good player in the NFL due to his intangibles and play making abilities. Pretty much every expert or draft guru in the nation felt this way as well. However, what I didn't know about was Brandin's past and what molded him in to the player and young man that he is today. After reading the article, I was convinced that this was the guy that the Saints needed in their organization; a guy that is a lightning rod on the field and that will be one hundred percent committed to the task at hand.
After producing a respectable season as a true freshman at Oregon State, gaining 391 yards and 3 touchdowns off of 31 catches, he was introduced to a more expanded role as a sophomore. He almost quadrupled his yardage total, finishing with 1151 yards, all while barely doubling his receptions total to 67. His final year as a Beaver, where he saw his largest role in the offense yet, was nothing short of impressive. He caught 128 receptions for 1730 yards, both of which are Pac 12 and Oregon State single-season records, and added 16 touchdowns, which is tied for third in Pac 12 history. He also rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns on 32 attempts. Even after all of this production, Cooks barely cracked the second round in most pundit's books.
Like all division one athletes in the country, Cooks has definitely been overzealous in his on-field abilities. But unlike most, he has been able to back up his talk while flying under the radar. It took until his exceptional combine performance where he ran the 40 yard dash, the 20 yard shuttle, and 60 yard shuttle in 4.33, 3.81, and 10.72 seconds, respectively, (all three of which led receivers) for him to be noticed.
While his height may be a cause for concern to some, it isn't even in the question with me. DeSean Jackson, who is 5'10" and 175 lbs., has had a tremendous amount of success on the field. Brandin Cooks, the 2013 Biletnikoff award recipient, is the same height, but he is fourteen pounds heavier, all while being the slightest bit faster than DeSean. I expect for Brandin to be the same type of joker-esque player for the Saints that Jackson was for the Eagles and will be in the future for the Redskins.
While stepping down from my soapbox, I will conclude by saying that this guy is a perfect fit for the Saints, both on and off the field. He will be immediately embraced by the city of New Orleans and all of Who Dat Nation and will be a great team contributor for years to come.
Useful Saints Draft Links
Saints 2014 Draft Picks
20th Overall (Round 1) - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St.
58th Overall (Round 2)
126th Overall (Round 4)
167th Overall (Round 5)
169th Overall (Round 5)
202nd Overall (Round 6)
Top Remaining Positions of Need
- Offensive Tackle