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Saints Training Camp 2014: Brandin Cooks Shines Early

The Saints' top draft pick is already proving to be the dynamic playmaker the fans and the franchise hoped he could be. Is this start a glimpse of the explosiveness to come this season?

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Just five days into training camp and one thing above all others is abundantly clear, Brandin Cooks is even better than advertised.  The 20th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft is primed to take the already potent New Orleans Saints offense into another gear.  Although Cooks was the fourth wide receiver taken in this year's draft, he may very well become the most impactful and dynamic contributor in the group.  For as much as the fans may have wanted a more prototypical prospect at wideout for Brees to connect with this offseason, It may turn out that Sean Payton has just the guy he wanted all along.

It has taken little to no time for Cooks to show off the top speed and shiftiness that may very well give Drew Brees and Sean Payton their most versatile weapon since they arrived in New Orleans nine seasons ago.  Here is a taste of what Cooks has shown in camp:

Certainly I'm not the only one who can't wait to see a season worth of this, starting Week 1 in Atlanta.  The Saints seem to have the "next big thing" in their midst.

It's not just the physical abilities that Cooks' coaches and teammates are raving about, its his intelligence, poise, and desire that seem to be equally as great.  These are all attributes that were attached to Cooks coming out of Oregon State, but its seeing it bloom in black and gold that is most satisfying.  Its seeing that Cooks is every bit the man he has been advertised to be, right from the beginning, that is most encouraging.

The Saints have featured an unbroken chain of dynamic playmakers/gamechangers in the Payton/Brees era, starting with Reggie Bush and followed by Darren Sproles.  The chain appears to continue with Brandin Cooks, but it may not be quite that simplistic.  In fact, Bush and Sproles may have been the table-setter for Cooks.  They may have prepared Sean Payton for the possibilities of coaching an athlete who embodies the best aspects of the former two players combined.  For the Saints, the best may be yet to come.

It has only taken five days in training camp to realize, but in hindsight we should've seen it all along.  Brandin Cooks is the perfect fit for Sean Payton's offense, and it was staring us right in the face.  The intangibles of Sammy Watkins or Odell Beckham, Jr. will undoubtedly pay major dividends for their teams, and they could have been valuable to the Saints if they were available.  The Calvin Johnson "new prototype" may be what's necessary to beat Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson for jump balls and position on the field, but ultimately the Saints may be looking to attack their opponents in newer and smarter ways.  Brandin Cooks seems to be just what the Saints and Who Dat Nation needed all this time.