As we reach the halfway mark in our NFL Draft profiles, we take a look at the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner (nation’s best receiver), Brandin Cooks.
The consensus All-American made 226 career receptions at Oregon State for an average gain of 14.5 yards. Cooks has been blessed with incredible speed, but that’s not all he has to offer. He was as dynamic a playmaker as there was in college football last year and his game translates to the NFL, especially today’s NFL.
Cooks should be available when the Ravens make the 17th selection in the first round. But will the Ravens take him? Free safety and right tackle are higher priorities, but there’s only one player at those positions (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Zack Martin) the Ravens should consider in the first round.
If Cooks is on the board when Baltimore is on the clock, what will Ozzie do?
Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State
- Height: 5’10″
- Weight: 189 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.33 seconds (second-fastest at the combine)
- 20-yard shuttle: 3.81 seconds (fastest at the combine)
- 60-yard shuttle: 10.72 seconds (fastest at the combine)
- Last season: 128 receptions, 1,730 yards, 16 touchdowns; 32 rushes, 217 yards, 2 touchdowns
Pros: There’s zero debate about Cooks’ speed. You don’t have to qualify it. He flat out flies. He’s a game-breaker. If a defender breaks down in front of him, Cooks has incredible foot quickness to change direction. He shows good extension when receiving the ball and is a hands catcher, meaning he doesn’t need to trap the ball against his pads. Although he’s only 5’10″, Cooks knows how and when to high-point the ball. He does well to defeat press coverage and can lose defensive backs in a hurry. He’s determined to succeed.
Cons: Cooks will occasionally backtrack and make too many lateral shifts, giving up valuable field position. He doesn’t break as many tackles as you’d like. Sometimes he will stutter step too much and will lose the momentum of the play. His run blocking leaves a lot to be desired.
Why the Ravens would select him: The Ravens have good wide receivers, but they don’t have a player like Cooks. His play is reminiscent of both Steve Smith and Dante Hall. Cooks would bring shiftiness and versatility to the Ravens offense. Gary Kubiak could use Cooks in five wide receiver sets on middle screens or under/drag routes, and Cooks would eat up the space vacated by Torrey Smith, Steve Smith and others.
Any struggles he has aren’t for a lack of effort, which in a way is good, because it shows he can be coached. Though he would be a first round pick, there’s nothing to suggest Cooks would feel entitled and wouldn’t work hard to earn playing time. Furthermore, if the Ravens’ running game struggles again this year, Cooks could be an extension of the running game through quick, short routes and running after the catch.
Projected position with the Ravens: “Z” receiver (or flanker). Lining Cooks up off of the line of scrimmage (and putting him in motion) would enable to the Ravens to create multiple mismatches in their favor.