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Saints Roster Countdown 2014: #10 Brandin Cooks and #60 Thomas Welch

This evening, 22 guys in Saints uniforms will fall short of proving they belong on the final 53-man roster. Meanwhile, we continue counting down the days until the Saints kick off the regular season in Atlanta, by taking a brief look at the guys who are still with the team. Today we check out #10 (WR) Brandin Cooks and #60 (T) Thomas Welch.

Dilip Vishwanat

Twenty two players will be released between now and Saturday afternoon, in order to finalize the 53-man roster, after which NFL teams may declare a 10-man practice squad, up from the 8 players they were allowed previously.

As we've counted down the last 50 days until the New Orleans Saints begin their regular season in Atlanta, on September 7th, we've been getting to know a little bit about those players who have signed on to bring home another Lombardi trophy.

Today, we take a brief look at wide receiver Brandin Cooks and tackle Thomas Welch!

So, with no more ado:

10 DAYS UNTIL ATLANTA!!!

#10 WR Brandin Cooks (Rookie)

The New Orleans Saints traded up this year to pick up Brandin Cooks, the All-American receiver out of Oregon State, in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.  And thus far, it looks like they made the right move.  Cooks has been impressing everyone, from the Saints front office to the fans, including practically everyone on the team's offense and defense, with his blazing speed and athleticism, work ethic and character.

During three seasons at Oregon State, Cooks established himself as one of college football’s elite offensive weapons, posting posted 226 receptions for 3,272 yards (14.5 avg.) with 24 touchdowns while starting 29-of-38 games.  He also added 61 carries for 340 yards (5.6 avg.), returned 12 punts for 72 yards, and brought back eight kickoffs for 179 yards... bringing him to a career total of 3,863 all-purpose yards.

Fast in a straight line, and quick with directional changes, this highly productive receiver has great hands and solid concentration.  Just as importantly, he has historically been very resilient.  Already tabbed as one of the team's top receivers, the rookie looks to be a big part of the Saints offense in his first NFL season; and some analysts have him picked as the 2014 Rookie of the Year.

Contract:
4 yr(s) / $8,383,452.  Average $2,095,863 per year through 2017.

#60 T Thomas Welch (4th Year)

Drafted out of Vanderbilt in the seventh round of the 2010 Draft, Dwayne Thomas Welch, Jr. was signed by the Saints this offseason.  Having bounced around practice squads and the bottom of rosters since being drafted by the Patriots, he has appeared in 27 games with one start for the Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots.

The three-year NFL veteran has been competing for a roster spot on the offensive line, and would add depth to both the offensive line and special teams if he made the roster.  However, to cap off a preseason in which he hardly made his presence known, Welch landed on the injury list this past Monday, being held out of practice for an undisclosed reason.

Contract:
3 yr(s) / $1,530,000.  Average $510,000 per year through 2016.