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Brandin Cooks: More Than Just a Slot Receiver

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Brandin Cooks: More Than Just a Slot Receiver

Give Brandin Cooks the eyeball test and you might see another NFL slot receiver. The Oregon State product looks like the type that will set up a pace off the line of scrimmage close to the middle of the field and use his quickness to expose slower defenders.

In size and stature, Cooks is practically a Randall Cobb clone. Whereas Cobb stands 5’ 10” and 192 lbs., Cooks measured in at 5’ 10” and 189 at the NFL Combine.

Looks can be deceiving, however. Cooks might appear to the prototypical slot receiver but has plenty of experience lining up on the perimeter of the football field.

“I was on the outside, playing the flanker, playing on the outside my whole career in college, so I saw a lot of that,” said Cooks at the Combine.

Cooks might be small, but he’s got speed to burn. Compared to Cobb coming out of college, Cooks was the faster of the two, running a 4.33 40-yard dash. Cobb ran a 4.46.

It’s speed that allowed Cooks to not only be effective from the perimeter but be downright lethal.

Opposing defensive coordinators might as well have slapped a government warning on their scouting reports when playing Oregon State: Warning: Allowing Brandin Cooks to catch the football may be hazardous to your health.

“For me, I’m a playmaker,” said Cooks. “I’m able to create plays from nothing. Be able to catch a three-yard ball, I’ll take it the distance. Those RAC yards, yards after the catch. Speed kills and I feel like that’s what I’m going to bring to the game.”

Now that James Jones has moved on in free agency, the Packers will have to decide when to add more weapons at Aaron Rodgers’ disposal in the upcoming NFL Draft. And if they decide to do so in the first round, Cooks may be the best receiver available.

Prior to the NFL Combine, opinions on Cooks and where he could be selected were mixed.

“The only reason he's not in my Top 5 is because it's such a deep wide receiver class,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock back in February. “He's a heck of a football player, and I have him as my eighth-graded receiver, second-round grade and if he went at the end of round one, wouldn't surprise me at all.  He can play inside at slot.  He is tremendous at making people miss, tremendous run and catch.  He's a guy I really like.”

After witnessing Cook’s blazing speed at the Combine first hand, Mayock has since moved Cooks up the board to his fourth-rated receiver. That 4.33-second 40 was the fastest among any wide receiver at the NFL Combine and second-fastest overall among all players, regardless of position.

After Sammy Watkins of Clemson and Mike Evans of Texas A&M are selected early in Round 1—a scenario very likely to happen—Cooks is very much in the running to become the third receiver off the board, probably somewhere around the 21st overall selection where the Packers currently sit.

Should Cooks be available, the Packers will have to give him serious consideration despite other needs on the defensive side of the football.

Here is a player that proved to be very worthy of winning the Biletnikoff Awards as the nation’s top wide receiver in 2013 after catching 128 passes for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Cooks averaged 9.8 receptions per game during his junior season at Oregon State but also rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries (6.8 ypc) and has experience as a punt returner to boot.

The proven depth at wide receiver in Green Bay is lacking beyond Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin, and Cooks could arguably be an upgrade over Jones. Considering the injuries the Packers have had at the wide receiver position the past couple seasons, going after Cooks could make sense.

Some might argue that it would vw superflous to add another threat in the same mold as Cobb, but Cooks has shown to be both versatile and productive, something any team in the NFL could use.

“Numbers don’t lie,” said Cooks, “and what I bring to the game and my confidence with the way I work, my work ethic, I feel like no one is out there working harder than me. I have a lot to prove. I have a chip on my shoulder.

“They say I’m not the tallest, but I feel like there’s so many guys in this game today that are potential Hall of Famers like Steve Smith, who’s killing the game right now. DeSean Jackson. I can go down the list, and there’s (guys) under 5-10 that are definitely great receivers in this game.”

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (62) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Stroh's picture

Not even as good as Cobb IMO. Small, doesn't play w/ good strength and won't break tackles. Too small a catch radius to fit outside and be a threat. Teams will press him all day long and reroute him out of the play. Run after catch and open field running are even that good, shown by him not being a good punt returner.

Takes more than speed in the NFL. Let some team more impressed by his speed take him.

ebongreen's picture

I think that's a foolishly myopic and slanted take on his skills as a WR.

He's highly productive, with a very low drop rate. ( So he's got obvious hands and ball skills as his tape displays, and he can and does adjust to balls in flight. His speed is enough to keep most corners from pressing as they lack the wheels to catch him if they miss; furthermore 16 bench reps is pretty good for a 5'10" 190lb guy, suggesting he has the developable physical tools to combat press directly. He's not the dynamic evader I've seen from other WRs, but I'd say he's elusive enough - and God help you if you're trying to catch him from even or behind.

His best physical comp might be Devin Hester, if you don't like Randall Cobb. ( Fortunately for some team, they're going to draft a good-hands WR with speed, rather than a speedy athlete trying to learn WR. (e.g. Hester, Devin)

I think he's very much worthy of consideration in Round 1, save for the fact that the Packers already have Cobb on the roster. It's an embarassment of riches at WR this year draft-wise, so the Packers can choose what flavor they really want. It's something of a luxury. :-,

Birney the baker's picture

How dare you question this legend!! Strohkinoff is the heir apparent to Mel Kiper when he retires from ESPN. Yes, Stroh is taking over for him in case people didn't know. If you question his greatness at being wrong all the time, you will be severely punished or worse yet be labeled a "troll". I'll pray for you ebongreen once Strohkinoff reads your post and starts to respond.

Stroh's picture

Might be physically similar to Cobb, but Cobb has extraordinary competitiveness and was considered a physical player for his size, having played basically QB, RB and WR in his KU days. His days as a QB gives him an added advantage that Cooks doesn't have, in his awareness of how to find the soft spots in zones and present himself open to the QB. I would consider Cooks in the 2nd rd, much like Cobb was, but he isn't going to be as good as Cobb.

All these uber fast, little Oregon players have done next to nothing in the NFL, Cooks will be the same. Wouldn't touch Cooks in rd 1. Let someone else overdraft him.

In the NFL Cooks will get pressed at the LOS by bigger stronger CB than he has faced. He'll struggle to get into his routes and make plays consistently in the NFL.

ben's picture

how can somebody who knows so much about football be so far off so consistently?

Does Stroh have 3 other logins and thumbs up his own stuff? Absolute bullcrap.

Brandin Cooks is thee most explosive athlete in the draft. He's a much quicker, much faster Randall Cobb with 3 x the production. Brandin Cooks is a top 12 talent. If he falls to 21, it would be hard not to draft him. He is Percy Harvin without the headaches.

Birney the baker's picture

lol.. Ben, glad to see you are starting to catch on as to what this idiot does during his days. What people don't know is Stroh goes by other names on other boards. He spends ALL day EVERY day fighting with people saying how he's right and everyone else is wrong. THAT'S ALL HE DOES!! His wife works and he sits in his jammy's all day telling the world how he's the greatest and most knowledgable person in the world on the Packers. lol He really believes he is. I have spent 5 years trying to get away from him but he keeps showing up wherever I go. I can't stand it!!

As for you questioning why is Stroh who is the most hated man on the internet, getting more "likes' than dislikes and you getting more dislikes than likes, well you are correct. He does sign in and out of numerous ID's he has in order to accomplish this. He was caught last year on Yahoo doing it pretending to be his sister and forgot to sign out of his old I.D. lol

It's insane I know but that's what he does. Get used to it. As I said if this nut gives you shit punch him in the mouth. He's nothing but a little man that gets off on putting others down to make himself feel better about his private hell he currently lives in.

Tom Birney "the baker"

Stroh's picture

The ONLY person that thinks he's a top 12 player is YOU! Not one site thinks he is and neither do I. Bottom 1/3 of the first by CBS and NFL thinks he MIGHT develop into a starter someday. Not exactly ringing endorsements.

Little FYI... In the NFL he'll get pressed to death! Teams won't back off due to his speed they'll press him MORE. See that disrupts and slows his release and allows the safeties to get deeper. He's going to struggle to beat press coverage in the NFL, something he rarely faced in college.

How many of those uber fast Oregon players are starring in the NFL now? Can't think of one that's a star... Neither is Cooks!

Let me know when your working for an NFL team, maybe I'll pay attention. Right now your opinion means squat! At least I qualified my comment as being my opinion. You act like your word in supposed to gospel and you couldn't be more wrong!

NO chance the Packers draft Cooks in rd 1. NONE... Maybe if he falls to #53, but he would be Cobbs backup!

ben's picture

Uber BS

Stroh's picture

Wow... Great comeback. You really convinced me now! LMAO

I present facts, you call BS and someone is supposed to take you at your word?!

RC Packer Fan's picture

I would say that Dri Archer is the most explosive athlete in the draft. Not saying Cooks isn't explosive, just that Archer is more explosive.

MrPaulZeen's picture

I'd rather have Odell Beckham in the first. Seems like the better overall player to me. More upside too, in my opinion. Guy I really like is Paul Richardson, small dude but amazing catcher of the football. Not a candidate in the first though.

ben's picture

I love Beckham's game speed and big play ability. He's got "it".

Watkins, Evans, Cooks, & Beckham are the only 1st round WR for me.

2nd: Martavis Bryant, Jordon Matthews, Abbrederis, Marquise Lee, Davante Adams

RC Packer Fan's picture

For the most part I agree with you.
I am not as high on Bryant as you are, I think he is more of a 3rd-4th round type of WR. I think Bryant could be very good, I just don't think he is polished enough to be a 2nd round pick.
And I am a little higher one Lee. I think he is worth a first round pick.

Allan Murphy's picture

the best player at #21 bottom line ........

Birney the baker's picture

Mr. Murphy, you are also in trouble for questioning Mr. Strohkinoff. He has already said all that needs to be said about this guy. His word is the law. Ted Thompson reads all his posts just so he can get an edge on the rest of the NFL on who to select as well as who not to select. You are in big trouble along with Ebongreen.

DrealynWilliams's picture

One moment I think about Desean Jackson-like game breaking talent and then the second, I worry about him taking on teams like the Seahawks and 49ers. When we face those teams I am scared sh*tless for Cobb. As soon as he touches the ball I'm thinking or yelling,"get down!". For Cooks being much smaller than Cobb,I'd be really worried about him lasting. I'm not calling this next guy a "bust",but what has Tavon Austin done?

4thand1's picture

Yes but football is getting softer every day. It'll be harder to take out the knees of a small guy , like these d backs seem to be doing more of with more Pf's for hitting high.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Getting softer? Yea,true to an extent. But (good tackling) LBs and Safties won't be going for knees. And just because it's getting softer doesn't mean teams won't go for the big hit(s). I'd much rather have a WR/TE fear getting hit high again after a penalty than having the WR/TE not thinking about getting his ass lit up if he comes across that middle.

BubbaOne's picture

Not really appropriate to judge a WR after one year. Besides, Jeff Fisher said he expects the Rams to do a better job of using Tavon Austin "now that we know what he's capable of."

I know you like Moncrief in the 2nd round as do I .

That said, it would be intriguing to see what AR (w/ his accuracy) could do w/ a true speed burner. And how the safeties would play vs Lacy knowing there's 4.3 speed at WR. Also in 4 wide I'd like to see what routes MM would come up w/ having two of Nelson, Cobb, or Cooks in the slots.

If they bring in Cooks it may not affect Cobb's reps that much b/c MM said he wanted Cobb to get more reps on the outside. If Cobb gets hurt again Cooks would be a good slot alternative.

Cooks doesn't have to break tackles if he's either 3 steps behind the D on "go" routes or isn't touched when making catches from the slot.

DrealynWilliams's picture

It is appropriate. That's the world we live in. If he was to come out and wreck havoc his 1st year would we just overlook it? That's why I said I'm not labeling him a bust. I'm not even considering it. I'm sure there were other factors to him having a poor rookie year.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Everyone seems to think that Cobb & Nelson are Resigned. Am I the only one here who thinks this might not happen? If this draft is so Rich in WR's, I want the fastest one. I wouldn't mind giving a Rookie Speed Demon a chance. Not saying who? I'd like to have a Wide Out who can fly. I'll leave who to TT. I don't think we've ever replaced GJ's. If this draft is that deep, maybe we can. LVT

4thand1's picture

GJ was replaced but the injuries to Cobb , Jones and Finley didn't show it. Also the biggie.................Rodgers.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"If this draft is so Rich in WR's,I want the fastest one."

Give me the better route runner with nice hands over the fastest WR.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

DrealynWilliams, I respect your opinion. I also understand what you are saying. We already have 2 of those guys for sure. I'd like to add a Speed Demon to the Mix. JMO

DrealynWilliams's picture

I get that and I'm with you on that. But if you're just looking for speed,couldn't you get that deeper into the draft? Dri Archer?

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

DrealynWilliams, Definitely, I didn't mean with the 1st or even the 2ond pick. My memory is slipping today. The guy Seattle has who ran the 2ond half kick off back. I want someone like that. I would draft Defense in the 1 & 2 spots. I probably didn't say it right. I'd just like to get someone who can fly, as you say later in the draft. LVT Don't know why that last post went twice. I probably need a beer.

DrealynWilliams's picture

In that case,I'm definitely with you. Jordy has sneaky speed and Cobb has nice speed,but we just don't have that "another gear" speed guy on the offensive side.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

DrealynWilliams, You said it, the way I wanted to. LVT

Jordan's picture

Sneaky speed? What's sneaky speed? When was the last time you saw Nelson get caught from behind? There's never been anything sneaky about Nelson's speed. That's a myth that's been perpetuated in the Packers fan base because Nelson is a white boy and there's a lot of ego involved in WR/CB competition.

Didn't Talib just sign a big contract with the broncos?

DrealynWilliams's picture

What does him not getting caught from behind have to do with him having "sneaky speed"? I'm not saying he doesn't have nice speed. All it means is people don't look at Jordy Nelson as a burner. They look at his build and see him more like a possession receiver. Which leads to CBs and Safeties getting beat for underestimating his speed and play-making ability. Don't come at me like I'm some troll.

4thand1's picture

I beg to differ too. Gregg Jennings said a few years ago, " Jordy is fast for a white boy". Really fast.

DrealynWilliams's picture

He also believes Christian Ponder has great upside.


Jordan's picture

Ok man. I'm not trying to give you a hard time. I'm just trying to stop the myth. Nelson has been in the NFL since 2008. It's now 2014. There's no NFL safeties or corners or defensive coordinators underestimating Nelson.

He's been doing the same thing since his days at Kansas State.

Nobody is underestimating Nelson. That's a myth. You'll have to forgive me for attempting to bust the myth at your expense. That myth has always been a pet peeve of mine. Some NFL corners will say "he's got sneaky speed" as a way to save face after they've been beat by a white boy.

4thand1's picture

The clip you showed, the announcer said 4.3 speed. That's as fast as it gets.

DrealynWilliams's picture

They're not underestimating his talent as a route runner,catcher,YAC or anything else. Just his speed. You're taking this to another level. Speed. Speed. Speed. Keep it speed.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Scenario: You're a CB or Safety and you're 1-on-1 with James Jones. What are you thinking? Could he run past you or could he run through you?

Stroh's picture

More than likely they are worried about him running thru them. My question is. Does it matter? As long as Jones can get deep and score the threat is the same. Jone's 4.6 doesn't scare teams but he still gets open deep and scores. Jordy even more so...

Only thing that matters is that they have to respect that he can do it.

DrealynWilliams's picture

It doesn't matter to me. I'm just proving my point.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

DrealynWilliams, I respect your opinion. I also understand what you are saying. We already have 2 of those guys for sure. I'd like to add a Speed Demon to the Mix. JMO

Birney the baker's picture

Let's not forget, we do have Miles White, a Johnny Knox clone but he definitely can fly.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

I probably shouldn't be in this discussion. I don't know the players like you guy's do. I just know what I see on the field. I wouldn't mind adding another Great Receiver. Defense needs to be addressed 1st, IMO. For whatever that's worth. If we have a guy that can Fly, I'd like to see him on the field. I think we need a Speed Demond to go with Cobb & Jordy. JMO

Birney the baker's picture

I agree. We do need an influx of receivers and yes, a speedster. I look for TT to draft one, perhaps two of them. Losing Charles Johnson last year to Cleveland killed Teddy's plans. He more than likely would have been that guy this year. Maybe Cleveland will let him go and we'll get him back.

4thand1's picture

Tom were a lot alike. I don't get into combines, measurables, and all that shit either. Show me what you can do on the field. They don't measure heart.

ben's picture

Everybody wins with Cooks. (but stroh)
LasVegas-Tom get his fastest receiver. Drealyn WIlliams gets his better route runner with the best hands. 4th & 1 get his guy with heart.

Brandin Cook won the Biletnikoff Award winner for the being the nation's most productive receiver. You don't become the nation's leading receiver without some having a little heart. "He ran an official 4.30 40 yard dash, a 3.81 short shuttle(which is one of the fastest ever recorded at the combine), and in the 60 yard shuttle, he ran a 10.72, which is the fastest time on's database." Cook is considered an "elite" and "creative" route runner. "With him being comfortable with the entire route tree, and his creativeness as a route runner, he should have an easy transition to the next level and be a 90 catch type player in no time." Cook also had the lowest drop percentage of only 4%.

Stroh's picture

Had problems w/ press coverage in college and will see it all day long in the NFL. Has to get into his route on time to be targeted. Just won't happen in the NFL often enough.

Both CBS and NFL say he struggles catching the ball cleanly. Both say he can't beat press coverage and both say he lacks physicality and shy's from contact and has a very small catch radius.

That might work in college, not the NFL. But go ahead and tell us why only you think he's a top 12 player in the draft.

Stroh's picture

Nelson and Cobb aren't signed yet, but I can't see either of them not getting done. I'm not worried in the least about them getting done. I like Big fast guys. Speed is great but route running, is what gets players open, more often than not. Cooks being small and fast means teams will press him at the LOS to keep him from getting into his route. He already struggles w/ press in college, he's going to get a non stop diet of it in the NFL.

JimTaylor31's picture

I agree with Stroh on this one. There is no substitute for size and strength and when you combine that with speed you're in business. I'd rather we get a WR who has the size and strength to work both the midddle and outside and can be more physical with corners and safties. I'm not denigrating Cooks because I haven't seen him play that much. But with Cobb playing the slot I think a bigger guy who can get open would be a better fit. Like Stroh says. There's a lot of fast guys around. Corners and safeties are fast too. Give me a good route runner with good hands and good enough speed.

COW's picture

It's easier to "press" a big body than a little one.
Hard to "press" what you can't get 2 hands on.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Easier? Sure.

More successful? Nope.

There are CBs out there as fast as the fastest WRs.

There AREN'T CBs out there as strong as the strongest WRs.

Stroh's picture

Cooks already had trouble w/ press coverage in college. Apparently they didn't have to much problem getting their hand on him in college, in the NFL the CB are professionals, not amatuers. Cooks will get pressed relentlessly in the NFL.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

4THand1, Not sure I agree with that? I liked it when we had the Fab 5. I'd like to have Cobb & another GJ's.
Just my opinion, I think we've just got along without him.

4thand1's picture

There is no substitute for speed. This kid is a proven Receiver. Cooks and Cobb has a nice ring to it. Stretch the field and Lacy will have a field day.

JimTaylor31's picture

I think we do need to draft a quality WR in the first 3 rounds for better depth and development. An impact WR in Rd. 1 wouldn't bother me at all as long as TT was convinced he is BPA. Might come down to a tough decison if a WR or other is BPA but a safety or ILB (Mosely) is still on the board. I personally hope Ted goes for the BPA. That's just me though. Don't know enough about Cooks to say he would be the 21st best player in the draft. Might be a reach if you go by the published player rankings. I personally would prefer a WR with more size/strength than Cooks.

JimTaylor31's picture

Just checked and the CBS Draft player rankings have Cooks at #20 overall. So I guess he may be legit at #21 providing TT has him ranked that high.

COW's picture

Cobb replaced Jennings.
Boykin replaced Jones
This year's drafted rookie will be in the Nelson mold.
Jordy's not gettin' younger.

I love Cook. LOVE HIM! But It seems like the Packers are looking to change their MO a bit. Seems they're attempting to get more physical across the board.

-didn't bite on Byrd (who's not exactly physical) while seeming to think the 2 physical guys they have (Richardson, Hyde) will be able to do the job

-plan on using this "elephant" thing which to me sounds like a plan to replace 6'2" 245lb players with 6'4"+ 265+lb players

-let EDS go for a bigger/stronger interior guy

-take the $ they could have used on a wr (Jones) and gave it to a physical rb (Starks) even though they already have 3 rb's under contract

-re-signed a fb... do any other teams even have fb's anymore?

So far all signs point to the Packers deciding they don't want to get pushed around anymore.

At least this is what I HOPE is happening.

Hope it works.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Cow, I can't argue with your thinking on Jordy. I still don't think Cobb replaced GJ's. No one replaced DD. We're still 1 receiver short from where we once were.

I personally think GB wanted to resign Jones at a lower amount. When jones signed, they then signed Starks, which I'm glad they did. I like the idea of Bigger Players. I'm still not convined Kuhn makes the final 53. IMO Defense is 1st Priority. LVT

4thand1's picture

I see BAP. Whether its TE, ILB, Safety, WR. It depends where the Packers have them on their board. This draft will be fun.

4thand1's picture

Some douche dislikes fun. Ha Ha

tm_inter's picture

Brandon Cooks is the 4th or 5th ranked wide receiver in this year's draft class and should be drafted in late 1st round or early 2nd round. I don't see him as a Packer since we should use our 1st round pick on either a safety or an inside linebacker. We could, however, draft a wide receiver and a tight end in the 3rd round.

Stroh's picture

Completely agree... Late 1st early 2nd, probably gets overdrafted by some team infatuated w/ his speed. With Cobb in front of him, no chance the Packers draft him, nor should they. WR in the 2nd or 3rd makes a lot more sense.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I agree with you guys on this for the most part.

IMO there are 3 WR I look at in the 1st round. Watkins, Evans, Lee. Watkins won't be available, and I don't see Evans falling to 21. I could see him sliding to middle teens but that would be about it. I would consider Lee.

I don't see them going WR in the 1st unless Evans were to slide, or if there was no one else worthy of that spot. Maybe they go after Lee then.

I really think they look at WR in the 2nd-3rd round area. Guys like Moncrief, Benjamin, Mathews, and Bryant are the guys I could see them looking at in that area.

Kurt Huber's picture

Red flag!! He talked about the great short wrs in the game. Who did he name?? Smith and Jackson?? Not good role models. Why not name Cobb or Welker?? Hmmm, that's a red flag to me. Not a big one but it says something..

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