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Dynasty & Redraft: WR Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans


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5' 9 3/4", 189lbs; DOB: 9-25-93 4.33 40 yard dash.

2013: 128-1730-16; Career: 226-3272-24.

Looked great at the combine, has dandy production, and will turn 21 in his rookie season. I haven't seen a ton of Cooks on film, but what I've seen backs up the numbers. The elephant in the room is his height. Or is it? Does his lack of elite, or even average NFL WR height cap his ceiling? If so, how much?

I currently rank him 6th among rookie WR's (non-ppr version); the only thing keeping me from moving him higher is his shortness. Picking mid-late first round, I think I would have to pass on him. I don't think he'll bust, but I'm not sure he has much of a chance to be a top 24 dynasty WR either.

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Even being passed around from team to team, Cooks ranks 7th in receiving yards through a player's age 26 season. The list is pretty interesting . . . especially with the games played element added in.

The strongest narrative in about Cooks all year was his downgrade at QB. No one really talked about the upgrade he has in the the running game. No one ever had to stack the box against the Pats or Sai

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/brandin-cooks-paying-team-custodian-195826844.ht   Nice to see one of my favorite player is a class act.

I think Cooks will eventually become a very good receiver in the NFL, after an adjustment period. He's just turning 21, so he probably hasn't even reached full bodily maturity yet - not to mention mental and emotional maturity. On the field, you can definitely see some craftiness, but also he still has a lot to learn - about reading coverages and beating press. I'm encouraged though because it seems like he puts in the effort to get better.

Cooks has the physical talent to rival even a Marvin Harrison, in my opinion anyway. He ran the fastest 40 of the WRs. I'm sure that is attributed to quicks rather than top end, which is probably more impressive for playing football.

Of course you can't forget about his size, which pushes him later in the draft. He won't win as many jump balls, so his value in the red zone will leave a lot to be desired. But as far as durability, I have no concerns whatsoever. His reaction time help him avoid taking big hits, and his acrobatic style keeps him from hard falls. Plus, like Marvin Harrison or unlike Danny Amendola, Cooks plays with respect for his body.

With all that being said, I don't think I'll draft him with my rookie pick unless he falls very low. I don't get the sense he's quite ready for the big dogs. In NFL season two or three, his year 22 or 23, I think he figures it out. At which time I trade my oldest mule to get him.

Edited by cloppbeast
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I think Cooks will eventually become a very good receiver in the NFL, after an adjustment period. He's just turning 21, so he probably hasn't even reached full bodily maturity yet - not to mention mental and emotional maturity. On the field, you can definitely see some craftiness, but also he still has a lot to learn - about reading coverages and beating press. I'm encouraged though because it seems like he puts in the effort to get better.

Cooks has the physical talent to rival even a Marvin Harrison, in my opinion anyway. He ran the fastest 40 of the WRs. I'm sure that is attributed to quicks rather than top end, which is probably more impressive for playing football.

Of course you can't forget about his size, which pushes him later in the draft. He won't win as many jump balls, so his value in the red zone will leave a lot to be desired. But as far as durability, I have no concerns whatsoever. His reaction time help him avoid taking big hits, and his acrobatic style keeps him from hard falls. Plus, like Marvin Harrison or unlike Danny Amendola, Cooks plays with respect for his body.

With all that being said, I don't think I'll draft him with my rookie pick unless he falls very low. I don't get the sense he's quite ready for the big dogs. In NFL season two or three, his year 22 or 23, I think he figures it out. At which time I trade my oldest mule to get him.

He was quick off the line and had great top speed in his 40 run. He ran more deep routes his Sophomore year. Ran a lot of shorter routes last year.

He's Antonio Brown mixed with TY Hilton.

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Scouting report from CBSSPorts.com and NFLDraftScout.com:

Brandin Cooks

Overview

Cooks grew up in Stockton, Calif. and went on to become a three-sport start at Lincoln High School, where he also played basketball and competed as a sprinter while earning the nickname of "Sonic Boom."

Rated as the No. 22 receiver in the nation by Rivals.com, Cooks committed to Oregon State and played in all 12 games with three starts as a freshman.

Cooks really burst onto the scene in 2012 as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award after posting 1,151 receiving yards. Anyone concerned that Cooks' numbers were inflated while playing opposite Markus Wheaton had their fears curbed in 2013, when Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award after leading the FBS with 1,670 receiving yards during the regular season.

At just 5-10 and 186 pounds, he lacks elite size for the position, but he shines with his natural athleticism and dynamic ability before and after he touches the ball.

Analysis

STRENGTHS: Special athlete with explosive feet and natural burst - springs in his legs. Fluid body control with excellent start/stop moves, open-field vision and patient hesitation to elude defenders - joystick moves with loose hips and joints. Beautiful acceleration with speed to burn - electric after the catch.

Quick hands to adjust and pluck with very good coordination to look the ball into his mitts. Quick footwork to set up his routes and fool defenders - has worked hard to fine-tune this area. Works hard to max out his frame.

Strong football character. Tough individual - has never missed a game at any level. Experience on special teams as a return man - became full-time punt returner in 2013 (6.0 average). Very productive and 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner as nation's top receiver - set Oregon State and Pac-12 records for catches (128) and receiving yards (1,730), also setting new school record for touchdown catches (24).

WEAKNESSES: Lacks ideal size with below average height and length for the position. Limited strength, muscle and overall growth potential. Struggles with physical defenders and doesn't have ideal body strength - will be overwhelmed in man coverage. Looks to avoid contact and would much rather escape out of bounds or go around defenses. Needs to secure the ball through the process to eliminate drops and fumbles. Smallish target for quarterbacks.

COMPARES TO: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams - Cooks is a slightly bigger, not as fast version of Austin due to explosive feet, open-field moves and natural athleticism that makes him a home-run threat whenever he touches the ball.

--Dane Brugler (1/2/14)

Edited by Faust
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Brandin Cooks, Mike Evans seem to be likely first-rounders

Excerpt:

Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and Texas A&M's Mike Evans were particularly impressive to Mayock.

Cooks had the fastest clocking among the wide receivers, at 4.33 seconds. Mayock said Cooks "is one of my favorite players," has "fantastic hands" and that he should go late in the first round or early in the second. "This kid's special with the ball in his hands," Mayock said.

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Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks declares for 2014 NFL Draft

By Dan Greenspan

College Football 24/7 writer

Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks will enter the 2014 NFL Draft on the heels of his record-setting junior season, making the announcement in a press release issued through the school.

Cooks (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) had 128 receptions for 1,730 yards, breaking the Pac-12 records in each category set by Marqise Lee of USC in 2012. Cooks, who caught 16 touchdowns, also won the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the nation and earned numerous All-America honors, both feats accomplished by Lee the year before.

Essentially Cooks matched Lee in accolades and one-upped his production on the field. Whether Cooks can best Lee by going ahead of him in the draft -- provided Lee does forgo his senior season, as is widely expected -- could be one of the more intriguing plot points in the buildup to next May.

Both Cooks and Lee are electric with the ball in their hands and have largely run the same route tree in their respective pro-style offenses, but one NFC South scout told NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks that Cooks' superior consistency in catching the ball gives him the edge over Lee.

However, Brooks told the College Football 24/7 podcast that Lee's explosiveness will ultimately set him apart from Cooks, while NFL Media analyst Charles Davis praised the dramatic improvements Lee made despite being limited by shoulder, knee and leg injuries this season.

The more likely result is that Cooks is drafted on Day Two and leads the second tier of wide receiver prospects, selected behind the likes of Lee, Sammy Watkins of Clemson and Mike Evans of Texas A&M. But Cooks has defied expectations before, nearly doubling his receptions and more than tripling his touchdown receptions from his fine sophomore season without Markus Wheaton on the other side to occupy defenses.

Cooks outproducing Lee, injuries or not, was one of this season's biggest surprises in college football. Now Cooks will try to do it again entering the NFL.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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Brugler from CBS has him going to the Saints, but he's young, right?

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/mock-draft

Not sure the Saints want to wait for another project, they want production now.

He is the most advanced WR when it comes to work ethic and talent. Only reservation is his height. Cooks and Graham would be deadly. You can only wish...
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Brugler from CBS has him going to the Saints, but he's young, right?

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/mock-draft

Not sure the Saints want to wait for another project, they want production now.

You make a good point about his age. It may take him a season to adjust to the talent in the pro game.

Although Cooks is young, he's definitely not raw - especially considering his age. I wouldn't call him a project by any means. He has some things to work on - like any prospect - but considering his skill set already at such a young age, I doubt it takes him long to pick it up. He might not be the most refined receiver in the draft, but he isn't the rawest either. Compare Cooks at 20 to Kelvin Benjamin at 24.

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21 is pretty close to the average for the juniors who enter early. Not sure why everyone seems to be making a big deal of that.

Last year, guys like Gio Bernard, Leveon Bell, Deandre Hopkins, Robert Woods and others were 21 and it didn't mean they were projects just due to age. Some of those guys are still 21 now.

Edited by bengalbuck
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21 is pretty close to the average for the juniors who enter early. Not sure why everyone seems to be making a big deal of that.

Last year, guys like Gio Bernard, Leveon Bell, Deandre Hopkins, Robert Woods and others were 21 and it didn't mean they were projects just due to age. Some of those guys are still 21 now.

This is the youngest group of top WR's I've seen - of the top 10, 6 of them won't be 22 until November. Matthews barely misses that since he turns 22 in July.

Last year it was Hopkins, Allen and Woods and in 2012 it was Gordon, Randle and Hill.

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He's very close to T.Y. Hilton in terms of size and speed, although their style of play was very different.

Hilton: 5-10, 183, 4.34

Cooks: 5-10, 189, 4.33

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Brugler from CBS has him going to the Saints, but he's young, right?

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/mock-draft

Not sure the Saints want to wait for another project, they want production now.

He is the most advanced WR when it comes to work ethic and talent. Only reservation is his height. Cooks and Graham would be deadly. You can only wish...

Cocks and Brees? That puts him in the top 5 in dynasty rookies. He is no project.

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COMPARES TO: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams - Cooks is a slightly bigger, not as fast version of Austin due to explosive feet, open-field moves and natural athleticism that makes him a home-run threat whenever he touches the ball.

Sounds like a Percy Harvin/ Steve Smith, no?

I was thinking (hoping) Steve Smith based on the descriptions.

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Rotoworld:

NFL.com's Gil Brandt mentioned that Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks' 60-yd shuttle time (10.72) is the all-time combine record.

"Brandin Cooks says he was told his 10.72-sec 60-yd shuttle is alltime combine record. 1 of 2 players under 11 secs (Damian Copeland other)," Brandt tweeted. In 2012 Cooks also set the Oregon State record with a 6.81 second 60-meter dash. At the Combine he also took home $100,000 from Adidas, who gave the fastest (4.33 forty) athlete wearing there footwear a cash prize. Rotoworld's Josh Norris loves Cook's explosiveness and his ability to win at every level of the field, he currently sits at No.25 on his Top 50 board.
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Rotoworld:

NFL.com's Gil Brandt mentioned that Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks' 60-yd shuttle time (10.72) is the all-time combine record.

"Brandin Cooks says he was told his 10.72-sec 60-yd shuttle is alltime combine record. 1 of 2 players under 11 secs (Damian Copeland other)," Brandt tweeted. In 2012 Cooks also set the Oregon State record with a 6.81 second 60-meter dash. At the Combine he also took home $100,000 from Adidas, who gave the fastest (4.33 forty) athlete wearing there footwear a cash prize. Rotoworld's Josh Norris loves Cook's explosiveness and his ability to win at every level of the field, he currently sits at No.25 on his Top 50 board.

Source: Gil Brandt on Twitter

Always nice to draft a player that did something better than any other player in the history of the combine (and their college). :)

Some players are fast but not quick, or quick but not fast. It is rare to be both. Tavon Austin is, but he is 5'8" 180 lbs. Cooks is 5'10" 190 lbs. and pretty well put together. If he was 3" taller, he would be about the same height and weight Watkins was listed at last season. He isn't, but he is similarly proportioned. Cooks has been eliciting Steve Smith (5'9" 185 lbs.) comparisons for the way he attacks the ball in the air and "my ball" mentality, but also of course because they are very similar in stature.

If the top 3 WR are gone (and maybe even less depending on destination) in drafts, I will have a hard time deciding between Beckham and Cooks.

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Rotoworld:

NFL.com's Gil Brandt mentioned that Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks' 60-yd shuttle time (10.72) is the all-time combine record.

"Brandin Cooks says he was told his 10.72-sec 60-yd shuttle is alltime combine record. 1 of 2 players under 11 secs (Damian Copeland other)," Brandt tweeted. In 2012 Cooks also set the Oregon State record with a 6.81 second 60-meter dash. At the Combine he also took home $100,000 from Adidas, who gave the fastest (4.33 forty) athlete wearing there footwear a cash prize. Rotoworld's Josh Norris loves Cook's explosiveness and his ability to win at every level of the field, he currently sits at No.25 on his Top 50 board.

Source: Gil Brandt on Twitter

Always nice to draft a player that did something better than any other player in the history of the combine (and their college). :)

Some players are fast but not quick, or quick but not fast. It is rare to be both. Tavon Austin is, but he is 5'8" 180 lbs. Cooks is 5'10" 190 lbs. and pretty well put together. If he was 3" taller, he would be about the same height and weight Watkins was listed at last season. He isn't, but he is similarly proportioned. Cooks has been eliciting Steve Smith (5'9" 185 lbs.) comparisons for the way he attacks the ball in the air and "my ball" mentality, but also of course because they are very similar in stature.

If the top 3 WR are gone (and maybe even less depending on destination) in drafts, I will have a hard time deciding between Beckham and Cooks.

Not to take anything away from his time at all, but half of WR's don't run the 60 yard shuttle. Still a very, very impressive time.

Tough call between those two - situation will be a part of the decision but think I'd take Beckham, who has more successful WR comps than Cooks.

Edited by cstu
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COMPARES TO: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams - Cooks is a slightly bigger, not as fast version of Austin due to explosive feet, open-field moves and natural athleticism that makes him a home-run threat whenever he touches the ball.

Sounds like a Percy Harvin/ Steve Smith, no?

I was thinking (hoping) Steve Smith based on the descriptions.

from the outside looking in, sounds to me like randall cobb. combine numbers favor cooks slightly but the rest is there.

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Rotoworld:

Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks debuted in Mel Kiper's big board at No. 17 overall.

"He now looks like an oh so slightly more athletic version of Tavon Austin, and Austin was a top-10 pick last year," Kiper writes. "Cooks won't go as high, but it's fair to say the combine numbers match the ridiculous productivity." The Beaver is a different type of receiver than many in this class, displaying the ability to win with quickness outside or in the slot.
Source: ESPN
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Scout's Take Blog: Draft observations by an ex-NFL player, scout

By Bucky Brooks

NFL Media analyst

Excerpt:

Scouts routinely liken prospects to current or former pros in their scouting reports to provide decision makers with a vision of what a player could become at the next level. Although these comparisons are certainly not accurate predictors of future success, they are critical to evaluations because they can sway the undecided voter in the room. This is especially true when presenting a prospect's case to the coaching staff. Unlike scouts who are taught to consider long-term potential when assessing a prospect's game, coaches are typically focused on immediate production and impact potential. Thus, they need to have a clear vision of how a player will make a contribution to the team and how his game could develop over the first few seasons of his career.

Given the importance of painting an accurate picture to the general manager or head coach, I would attempt to match up prospects with a top NFL player with similar physical traits and playing styles. Additionally, I would try to project the prospect's best position as a pro and find a comparable player excelling at that spot with like characteristics. That's why it's important for college scouts to study the NFL over the summer to have a better feel for the top players in the game, while also monitoring how young players have developed early in their careers.

For instance, I spent several years watching Steve Smith develop into a Pro Bowl receiver in Carolina after entering the NFL as a return specialist. Although he is a diminutive receiver by traditional standards, he was an explosive player with remarkable speed, athleticism and leaping ability. Those traits are the same ones that stood out to me when I watched Oregon State's Brandin Cooks dominate the Pac-12 this fall despite measuring only 5-8, 189 pounds. The Biletnikoff Award winner is a dynamic playmaker with exceptional speed and quickness. He excels at blowing past defenders on vertical routes, yet is a threat to take it the distance from anywhere on the field on "catch and run" passes. With Smith regarded as one of the top receivers in the NFL during his heyday, my comparison allows coaches to envision the kind of impact I expect Cooks to make as a pro.

A picture is worth a thousand words -- identifying a valid NFL comparison for a prospect is not only a critical part of the evaluation process, but it is key to selling a prospect's talent and potential to decision makers in meeting rooms.

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For the draft savvy, where does a Steve Smith/Cobb/Austin blend go in this deep draft?

After the top WRs, with a few RBs and Ebron also in the mix, maybe around 1.5-1.8?

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I have seen a lot of people say they would love to get this guy at the end of the 1st or early second round in their rookie drafts this summer. I have a feeling by time the draft is over he will be going in the top 6 or 7 of rookie drafts. Right now I have him in my second tier of rookies. Behind Watkins, Evans, and probably 2 or 3 running backs that land in the best spots.

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I have seen a lot of people say they would love to get this guy at the end of the 1st or early second round in their rookie drafts this summer. I have a feeling by time the draft is over he will be going in the top 6 or 7 of rookie drafts. Right now I have him in my second tier of rookies. Behind Watkins, Evans, and probably 2 or 3 running backs that land in the best spots.

Lee and Beckham could be in the mix, there, too, depending on where they land.

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I have seen a lot of people say they would love to get this guy at the end of the 1st or early second round in their rookie drafts this summer. I have a feeling by time the draft is over he will be going in the top 6 or 7 of rookie drafts. Right now I have him in my second tier of rookies. Behind Watkins, Evans, and probably 2 or 3 running backs that land in the best spots.

Lee and Beckham could be in the mix, there, too, depending on where they land.

I have them in my second tier but it is all just a first draft. Where they are drafted is going to change a lot.

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This is from 12/23, but provides a compelling backstory to Cooks' life. I'm certainly rooting for him. :thumbup:

http://www.oregonlive.com/beavers/index.ssf/2013/12/hawaii_bowl_driven_by_fathers.html

Oregon State football: Driven by father's death and family's struggles, Brandin Cooks reaches for more

STOCKTON, Calif. — When Mike Riley walked into Brandin Cooks’ bedroom three years ago, he started to understand that this kid was a whole lot more than Oregon State’s next potential playmaker.

Cooks, who fills a room with his smile and laugh even though he stands barely 5-foot-10, didn’t want to talk about crazy catches or touchdown runs, or brag about big high school wins. The day Riley and assistant coach Jay Locey made their recruiting visit, Cooks led them to his room and showed them an article about his father, Worth Cooks Sr., who died of a heart attack when Brandin was 6.

“It was clear early, he was a man on a mission,” Locey says now, on the verge of what could Cooks’ last game with the Beavers. “He had this incredible focus, a deep desire to be his best. He would not back down. Then he starts to talk about his dad ...”

There was no way to know then that Cooks would become arguably the best receiver in Oregon State history. At Andrea Cooks’ home in Stockton today, a shrine of sorts has been constructed on one wall to honor her youngest child, complete with pictures, posters and a jersey. It’s a testament to all Brandin has accomplished, and a reminder that he still craves more.

“The day after daddy died,” Brandin says, “it felt like everything went downhill.”

Each of his older brothers — Fred, Worth Jr. and Andre; now 32, 27 and 23, respectively — struggled with the loss of their father in a different way. Fred, the oldest who was already out of the house, plugged away at work, helping when he could and learning how to provide for himself. Worth Jr. fathered his first child at 15 and barely finished high school. Andre, Brandin’s sidekick growing up, has been in and out of prison the past few years. It’s only Brandin, the baby of the family, who was not permanently scarred by his father’s death.

A tight-knit group brought closer by tragedy, this is a family that roots for the one kid who got it right.

“I used to tell him, ‘Don’t be like me, Don’t be like us,’” says Worth. “‘You can be the one that’s different.’”

*****

Andre Cooks has never seen his little brother play in college -- and maybe he never will.

Brandin, the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s best receiver, doesn’t have much left to prove in college football. If he leaves early for the NFL, no one will be surprised. But he wishes Andre could see him just once in Reser Stadium, where the crowd is continually mesmerized by speedster with a penchant for big plays in big moments. Andre, who originally went to prison for illegal possession of a weapon, is currently locked up in Fort Bragg, Calif., for a parole violation, and not due for release until next fall.

They talk sparingly, but Andre keeps track of Brandin’s progress, asking guards to check the scores and stats, aware of the gaudy numbers Brandin has put up most the season. When he learned of Brandin winning the Biletnikoff, there was a pause on the phone before Andre started muttering, “Beautiful, that’s beautiful man,” elated that his baby brother had followed through.

“He was always the one with the most ambition, there was this Energizer bunny within him,” Andre says by phone. “Sometimes I don’t think he really understood the magnitude of what was going on with our dad’s death; he just kept indulging in his love of sports. He already had his mind made up, that he was going to do it. Me and my other brothers, the three of us didn’t have any definite plans or a path. Brandin did. He was the one who was going to make it. We all recognized that, no matter what else was going on in the family, we recognized that he was the one who could get it right.

“He’s an inspiration to me.”

Andrea says that Brandin, now 20 and known around Corvallis as a playful guy, got his goofy side from Andre, “the comedian in our family."As children, Brandin and Andre were inseparable in good and bad, and Andrea Cooks shakes her head when remembering her little boys. They got into plenty of trouble, she says, but how could you stay mad at cuties with smiles like that? As punishment, they would kneel in the corner, thinking about what they had done. But when mom would slip out of the room Andre would whisper jokes to his brother, who could never hold in his giggles.

“Even when he was out running the streets,” says Brandin, who has not seen Andre in person for two years, “that’s my best friend, that’s the one who looked out for me.”

The bond is such that when Andre was sent back to prison last fall -- right before the Beavers played at UCLA -- his family elected not to tell Brandin until after the game, worried the news would weigh too heavily on his mind.

*****

Andrea Cooks admits that always, her boys belonged to their daddy.

Brandin would rush home from school and go looking for Worth Sr., a former Marine-turned-bounty hunter who liked to race the boys — socks only, please, no shoes — from the opposite side of the street to the top of the driveway. He regaled them with stories from his youth, claiming that back in the day he had been invited to the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp, where he “caught a long bomb, something like 70-yards, and tore his knee up on the way down,” recalls Worth Jr., rolling his eyes. “We’re still not sure if it’s true.”

Days after agreeing to surgery for heart problems — “He said he wanted to watch his babies grow up,” Andrea says softly — Worth Sr. dropped dead of a heart attack at their home in Stockton. He died in Andrea’s arms on the living room floor, just 48 years old.

In the months and years that followed, Andrea ached for her husband. She missed Saturday mornings when the boys would crawl into bed with their parents, clamoring for attention and affection. But grief doesn’t pay the bills, so Andrea, who already worked at a shipping and receiving warehouse, took a second job at an after-school program, hoping to keep her boys on a straight path.

Brandin isn’t sure if it’s accurate to say the Cooks grew up poor — he certainly doesn’t like the word — but knows they were definitely below the poverty line, something he failed to understand for many years.

“I would get jealous of other kids with dads: ‘What would it be like if I had a dad? How good could I be? Would our family be better?’ I used to get mad that we couldn’t do stuff — go shopping, go out to restaurants, go on vacations. I needed rides to school, but I was embarrassed for people to see how small our house was,” Brandin says. “One day, Fred sat me down and said the reasons we ate beans and bread so much, it’s because it’s all we could pay for. And that’s when it hit me.”

Since that talking-to, Brandin has heaped praise on his mom for rising above their struggle to raise four boys. In turn, Andrea gushes about the love and pride she has for all her children, two emotions that were on display when Brandin won the Biletnikoff two weeks ago.

“When he walked up there I was thinking, ‘My baby, he did it,’” Andrea Cooks says, her voice rich with emotion. “He did what he set out to do. I was just so overwhelmed.”

Brandin is used to seeing his mom cry, but her tears are still a powerful reminder of what they’re both trying to achieve.

“To see her that emotional, it touched my heart,” he says. “The pain, the crying, I know where that hurt is from. That award was more special for her than me.”

*****

When Brandin’s running mate and All-American receiver Markus Wheaton graduated last season, the natural assumption was that Brandin’s production would drop. Instead he flourished in 2013, racking up 120 receptions and 1,670 yards, both single-season school records. But perhaps the biggest surprise of his collegiate career came four years earlier. Because Cooks wasn’t even supposed to wind up at Oregon State.

Initially committed to UCLA and then-coach Rick Neuheisel, Cooks started to get anxious about the Bruins’ pistol offense, worried it wouldn’t play to his strengths. On a whim he took a visit to Corvallis, intrigued by Oregon State’s James Rodgers, a small receiver who burst onto the college scene with a play called the fly sweep, which OSU ran to perfection in 2007. Could I do the same thing? Cooks wondered.

“He told me he was committed to UCLA and I was like, ‘OK, there’s nothing wrong with that,’ but I just kept talking to him about what it was like at Oregon State,” says Rodgers, now a practice player with the Atlanta Falcons. “When he left, he kept calling me and asking me questions, saying he was thinking of coming back. We maintained a relationship, and everyone treated him like a teammate already. He liked that.”

When Riley and Locey showed up in Stockton for an in-home visit, Cooks remembers he felt “something different, something right,” when Riley sat on his couch. Andrea Cooks marveled at a Division-I head coach, the biggest man on campus, getting up at the dinner table and offering to serve seconds, dishing out ravioli for everyone else. This guy wanted to take care of her child for the next few years? She was sold.

Brandin, the first in his family to go to college, knew Riley’s system would allow him to produce the type of numbers needed to get to the NFL, and take the next step in his journey.

Surprised that Brandin wanted to give up the glamorous L.A. lifestyle to play in a small town — his sister-in-law joked that upon first visiting Corvallis she wondered if “Little House on the Prairie” had been filmed in one of the fields — his family saw how seamlessly he fit with the Beavers.

“Other schools, they show you cool stuff, but how much of it is real?” Brandin says. “OK, let’s go drive around this neighborhood in Bel Air … but when am I going to be back here? What does this have to do with me breaking records? In Corvallis, you’re here to take care of business. That’s what I wanted.”

He played as a true freshman, getting extra snaps while Rodgers dealt with an injury. He proved to be a valuable sidekick to Wheaton in 2012, as the Beavers recorded a surprising 9-4 season. And then he took over this year, dominating defenses as he became the Pac-12’s best and most explosive receiver, speeding by defensive backs for big gains and big-time touchdowns, the favorite target of quarterback Sean Mannion. Stanford coach David Shaw summed up Cooks’ play in one word: “Wow.”

Receivers coach Brent Brennan, whose first season in Corvallis was Cooks’ freshman year, has come to expect greatness from the pupil he calls “the golden standard.”

“He has an uncommon maturity,” Brennan said. “As a freshman, we’d watch practice tape, and he was blowing everybody away because he was winning his one-on-one so much. And he was controlling the matchup, always always positioning himself to go against Jordan Poyer, one of the best defensive backs in the country. I knew then he was different. Most true freshmen aren’t looking to line up and possibly get their (butt) kicked every time. But he loved that challenge.”

Brennan has coached his share of NFL receivers and has no doubt that Cooks will be next. It’s just a matter of when.

*****

As the Beavers prepare to play Boise State in Tuesday’s Hawaii Bowl, the NFL decision looms for Cooks. He has pushed aside all talk about turning pro, insisting that he’s focused on getting one more win this season. He'll make a decision after the bowl game, he says. But he acknowledges that he’s at least thought about it.

Before the 2013 season, Cooks set two big personal goals: He wanted at least 92 receptions (one more than Wheaton nabbed in 2012) and 1,300 receiving yards. He has easily surpassed those. But long before 2013 rolled around, he set another goal.

“The second I learned what college football was, what the NFL was, I said, ‘I want to do that.’ I came in here, and I wanted to break records, I wanted to be better than anyone else who had come here,” he says, adding that if he returned for his senior season it would be to try to push this program to a BCS bowl. “I wanted to set myself up so that within three years, I would have the option to leave.”

He doesn’t fret about potential injuries, should he return; he watched Rodgers’ blow out his knee after coming back, but isn’t haunted by the same prospect. He has a deep faith and says simply, “God wouldn’t take me this far just to rip me down.”

He is motivated not by money, but instead by wanting to do right for his family. He dreams of coming into his mother’s home and telling her she can quit her job because he just received an NFL paycheck that will change her life. He wants to someday have kids just like his niece Brooklyn, who thinks the the most important thing to know about her uncle is that while he’s very good at football, she always beats him at hide’n’seek. But more than that, he wants to give the next generation of Cooks what he didn’t have: Too many toys to count, vacations and cars to drive themselves to school. He wants to send a message to other kids in Stockton, distracted by gangs and drugs, that you can make a different choice.

And he wants Andre to get out of prison and come watch him play.

“Even though I was the youngest, I was the only one who made it a positive” Brandin says. “I can’t forget it, but I can let it fuel me … I realized it young, and they realized it late. But they can still do it. I really believe I can be the one to change Andre’s life.”

If he can get Andre to watch him play, Brandin figures, to see the atmosphere and feel the crowd, to understand that all these thousands of people are pushing him and believing in him, maybe Andre will understand there’s more.

Maybe Brandin won’t be the only one who gets it right.

— Lindsay Schnel
l

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I have seen a lot of people say they would love to get this guy at the end of the 1st or early second round in their rookie drafts this summer. I have a feeling by time the draft is over he will be going in the top 6 or 7 of rookie drafts. Right now I have him in my second tier of rookies. Behind Watkins, Evans, and probably 2 or 3 running backs that land in the best spots.

He's in the conversation as WR4. I don't see him slipping past 1.8 in rookie drafts.

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I have seen a lot of people say they would love to get this guy at the end of the 1st or early second round in their rookie drafts this summer. I have a feeling by time the draft is over he will be going in the top 6 or 7 of rookie drafts. Right now I have him in my second tier of rookies. Behind Watkins, Evans, and probably 2 or 3 running backs that land in the best spots.

He's in the conversation as WR4. I don't see him slipping past 1.8 in rookie drafts.

I was hoping to get him at 1.09 in my league but I might have to take him at 1.05. If he does go to the Saints or the Patriots I could see him going 1.05

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Great article (post #34), thanks for posting. I'll be rooting for him, too.

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Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham an the Importance of 40 Times for Small receivers

http://rotoviz.com/index.php/2014/02/brandin-cooks-odell-beckham-and-the-importance-of-40-times-for-small-receivers/

Shawn Siegele

The profiles below have been updated post-combine for all five receivers featured in this article.

Last week, Ryan Rouillard wrote a great piece on digesting the NFL Combine. He even explained where your rooting interests should lie. I think it’s almost impossible to watch the event and not hope each successive prospect runs faster than the last. This year it should be fun to follow one group in particular: the small wide receivers.

In my recent WR Holy Grail article, I took a look at the receivers in our database from 2006 to the present and identified 136 who appear to have established themselves as clear hits or misses. Of those players, 26 are receivers who weighed-in below 200 pounds and were drafted in the first three rounds. 17 of those players were busts, which helps to underline just how important weight can be.

But just as we saw when we looked at the entire sample, there are very different profiles for the hits versus the misses.

40 DR Rookie Age Hits 4.41 36 22.6 Misses 4.45 30 23.8

I would prefer a much larger player pool to feel completely confident in these stats, but the results do generally fit with our previous conclusions. The hits were younger and represented a bigger share of their teams’ receiving market share (Dominator Rating or DR). Those two metrics seem fairly well written in stone.

Breaking with the pattern from the overall sample, the hits ran significantly faster times than the misses. When you ignore weight, the hits ran an average 40 time of 4.48. For small receivers, the average for hits is 4.41 and five of the nine players ran a sub-4.4. This would tend to emphasize the idea that 40 times are overrated for receivers in general but simultaneously suggest that speed might be underrated for small receivers.

The 2014 Class

This is an intriguing season for smaller prospects. While the draft is deep at receiver in general, it is also deep in quality sub-200 lb. receivers. The draft could see as many as four such wideouts go in the first round. In all likelihood, two will slip into the second and be joined by Paul Richardson in the third.

DR Rookie Age Marqise Lee 0.29 23.1 Odell Beckham 0.35 22.2 Brandin Cooks 0.39 21.3 Jarvis Landry 0.40 22.1 Paul Richardson 0.46 22.7

Of the five players, the only one who didn’t post a single-season collegiate market share of 39% or better was Odell Beckham – Marqise Lee registered 42% in 2012 – but even Beckham’s 0.35 is basically in line with the historical average of hits. Beckham, Brandin Cooks, and Jarvis Landry are all significantly better than the average age as well. (You can find great information like market share yards, market share touchdowns, yards per target, and red zone touchdown rate by using the WR College Career App. To find the ages for all of 2014′s prospects, check out Johnny Manziel and the 2014 Draft Age Project.)

As you approach fantasy draft season, keep in mind how difficult it is for quality burners like DeSean Jackson and T.Y. Hilton to make consistent contributions game-to-game and year-to-year. On the other hand, if you’re going to draft small receivers, this might just be the year to do it. I’m going to look at the individual receivers, make some possible historical comparisons, and then propose somewhat fanciful scenarios for what their futures might hold based on how fast each player runs at the Combine.

Note: While the specific scenarios and the emphasis on 40 times aren’t meant to be taken overly seriously, I’ve made every effort to provide comps that reflect the DR, weight, and age of the prospects. Most of the comps you’ll hear during Combine coverage will focus on theoretical stylistic similarities instead of what I would consider these more important elements.

I’ve already given you the Dominator Ratings. In creating these profiles, I’m going to use Games Dominated, a stat the Fantasy ##### created in one of my favorite articles of the year.

Marqise Lee

Games Dominated: 18 Weight: 192 Age: 23.1

Optimistic Comp: A pre-injury, pre-attitude Santonio Holmes (4.35)

Pessimistic Comps: A.J. Jenkins (4.37), Damian Williams (4.52)

The Positive Scenario: Lee runs a 4.37 forty, teams suddenly realize that he “dominated” 50% of the games in which he appeared, a stark contrast to the 29% for Sammy Watkins. The former Trojan gains buzz as the possible first wideout selected.

The Negative Scenario: Lee runs a 4.49 and teams project him as Kendall Wright with potential injury problems. In such a deep draft, he falls out of the first round entirely.

What actually happened: Lee ran a 4.52 which seems fairly disastrous for a speed receiver, but he did show up better in the other drills. The Fantasy ##### has demonstrated that the leaping drills are highly correlated with overall athleticism, and Lee bested Sammy Watkins in the vertical jump, broad jump, and short shuttle. I’m one of the few people in either the analyst or scouting community who feels Lee is a significantly better pure receiver than Watkins, and his 40 time could make him a bargain. Lee no longer seems like an option for the Detroit Lions at No. 10 but could still be in play for Kansas City at No. 23. With the depth of this class, the most likely scenario sees him falling out of the first round and to the Browns or Raiders early in Round 2.

Odell Beckham

Games Dominated: 6 Weight: 198 Age: 22.2

Optimistic Comps: Percy Harvin (4.39), Randall Cobb (4.46)

Pessimistic Comps: Vincent Brown (4.68), Donnie Avery (4.43)

The two closest comps are probably Harvin and Cobb, which is a big positive. Even though they both came out at a slightly younger age, their weight and Dominator Ratings were similar. Avery was the best weight/DR comp but was a very old prospect.

The Positive Scenario: Beckham runs a 4.39 and confirms his status as another Harvin. While perhaps not quite as multi-faceted as Seattle’s high-paid decoy, teams break ties on their board in Beckham’s favor due to his abilities as an elite returner. The Jets reach for him at No. 18 overall.

The Negative Scenario: Beckham runs a 4.5 and teams “go back to the tape” to discover he’s not the same level of player as Jarvis Landry. He falls into the late second round.

What actually happened: Beckham ran a 4.43, essentially splitting the difference between his Harvin and Cobb comps. He also leapt 38.5 inches and ripped off a 10.64 Agility Score, confirming the athleticism that helped him post an elite 12.8 yards per target in 2013. It’s still a concern that he trailed teammate Jarvis Landry in receiving market share, but it’s now much more likely that he’ll be the third receiver off the board. He should battle Lee and Brandin Cooks for that distinction, making my original positive scenario (Jets at No. 18) seem fairly reasonable.

Brandin Cooks

Games Dominated: 14 Weight: 189 Age: 21.3

Optimistic Comp: T.Y. Hilton (4.37)

Neutral Comps: Emmanuel Sanders (4.40), Chris Givens (4.35)

Cooks is the youngest wide receiver in the 2014 Draft, which means he doesn’t have any clear comps. If you make the appropriate age adjustments, you could make a case for Cooks alongside former collegiate greats like Marvin Harrison or Torry Holt.

The Positive Scenario: Cooks runs a 4.34 forty and electrifies the Combine audience in the agility drills. With everyone whispering that he’s a young Steve Smith, the Oregon State alum is picked by the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 23. Andy Reid sees him as a better version of DeSean Jackson and without all the drama.

The Negative Scenario: Cooks runs a 4.46 and, although GMs still realize that he “plays faster in pads,” they opt to select the heavier receivers in the first round and early second. He’s drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the mid-second after they miss on their pledge to get Big Ben a big target.

What actually happened: Cooks absolutely blew the doors off the Combine, scorching a 4.33. Among the nine “hits” referenced earlier, only Mike Wallace ran faster. He then easily led the position in the short shuttle with a 3.81. Cooks is a far superior prospect to Tavon Austin a year ago, but he’ll fall much further in the draft unless Watkins and Combine riser Mike Evans both go earlier than expected – say No. 2 to St. Louis and No. 5 to Oakland. If that happens, it’s not impossible he could go No. 10 to Detroit. The much more likely scenario sees him getting snapped up by the Chiefs as originally predicted or by the Browns at No. 26.

Jarvis Landry

Games Dominated: 10 Weight: 205 Age: 22.1

Optimistic Comps: Greg Jennings (4.42)

Neutral Comp: Golden Tate (4.42)

Although Landry is occasionally mocked as high as No. 23 to Kansas City, he’s frequently the forgotten man in discussions of the 2014 class. Update: Landry weighed in at 205 pounds, which obviously lifts him out of the sub-200 category. His height/weight profile still fits more of a No. 2 role at the NFL level, making his 40 time important.

The Positive Scenario: Landry runs a 4.40 and is drafted by the Cleveland Browns to be their complement to Josh Gordon.

The Negative Scenario: Landry runs a 4.51 and draws comparisons to Kendall Wright – not the Wright who was overdrafted by the Titans, but the very solid possession receiver he’s morphed into. He’s still scooped up by Detroit early in Round 2.

So that happened: Landry’s Combine started off on a high note as he weighed 205 pounds, a few more than expected, but unmitigated disaster was shortly to follow. NFL receivers can’t post a mark of 28 inches in the vertical or run a 4.77 forty. It was almost to the collective relief of Combine watchers everywhere when Landry left with a calf injury and avoided further embarrassment. There will be the inevitable mentions of Anquan Boldin and Keenan Allen, and in some ways those comparisons are more justified than usual. It just doesn’t make sense that a player could rack up Landry’s numbers at LSU if he can’t play. Especially for those who believe the Combine is overrated, Landry should be targeted as Keenan Allen 2.0.

Paul Richardson

Games Dominated: 13 Weight: 175 Age: 22.7

Optimistic Comp: DeSean Jackson (4.35)

Negative Comps: Titus Young (4.43), Brandon Williams (4.48)

Unless Richardson times very poorly, DeSean Jackson will be the closest comp. His weight, age, and games dominated numbers are very similar. Richardson dominated almost twice as many games as Titus Young (13-7).

The Positive Scenario: Richardson runs a 4.32, verifying his comp to DJax and conjuring images of a more technically sound Mike Wallace. He doesn’t break into the loaded first round but is drafted early in the second by Martin Mayhew, a GM who’s never met a small receiver he didn’t like.

The Negative Scenario: He runs a 4.45 and scouts conclude his frame is too thin for Richardson to be more than a situational deep threat in the NFL. He falls past the second tier of big receivers – guys like Donte Moncrief, Cody Hoffman, and Jared Abbrederis – and isn’t selected until early on Day Three.

What actually happened: Richardson won’t get the same bump as Brandin Cooks, but his 4.4 forty was faster than the much trumpeted Watkins. You have to like the Clemson star – 2014′s top WR by acclamation – due to weight and age, but Richardson is not only faster, he jumped four inches higher, averaged 1.7 yards more per reception last season, and clobbered him in Dominator Rating (.46 to .32). If Richardson is selected as the 10th or 11th receiver somewhere between 50 and 80 overall, those who discount weight should target him as a value play in rookie drafts.

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Rotoworld:

The MMQB's Peter King believes Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks is "in value" for the Jets at No. 18.

In fact, King calls it a "perfect landing spot" and a need for the Jets. Rotoworld's Josh Norris is a big fan of Cooks, listing him among the top 30 prospects in the draft, but this pick might be a bit early. Evaluators will likely be split on projecting Cooks as more than just a slot receiver. Norris has compared Cooks to Victor Cruz, even though the Oregon State product is two inches shorter.
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Rotoworld:

The MMQB's Peter King believes Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks is "in value" for the Jets at No. 18.

In fact, King calls it a "perfect landing spot" and a need for the Jets. Rotoworld's Josh Norris is a big fan of Cooks, listing him among the top 30 prospects in the draft, but this pick might be a bit early. Evaluators will likely be split on projecting Cooks as more than just a slot receiver. Norris has compared Cooks to Victor Cruz, even though the Oregon State product is two inches shorter.

Please no...

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Excerpt from Peter King's MMQB:

Player of the Week: Brandin Cooks, wide receiver/returner, Oregon State

Between now and the May 8 NFL draft, I plan to take a look at a different player in the news each week. This week it’s one of the stars of the NFL Scouting Combine, wide receiver Brandin Cooks of Oregon State.

I watched the Oregon State offensive snaps of three of his 2013 games—against Cal, Stanford and USC. It was the TV copy, and the wide receivers were out of the picture quite often, so I couldn’t get a good picture of him blocking downfield (though he did block aggressively in a scrum against Stanford for a fellow receiver). And I can’t say I am confident about his route-running either, for a similar reason. But I got a good feel for his physicality competing for balls and his hands and his speed around the edge. All very good. I didn’t see the blow-the-top-off-the-defense speed I thought I’d see after his 4.33 40-time at the combine, but he clearly is plenty fast. Oregon State uses him on the Jet sweeps the way Seattle used Percy Harvin when healthy in 2013; he didn’t break many, but you don’t sneer at 6.8 yards per play on the sweeps.

Cooks reminded me of the West Virginia all-purpose weapon, Tavon Austin, who was the only rusher/receiver picked in the top half of the first round of the 2013 draft. Cooks, I believe, is slightly more physical. Comparing Austin and Cooks and the final seasons of their college careers:

(click on the link to see the comparison)

The most impressive play I saw Cooks make came against Stanford. From the Cardinal 8-yard line, quarterback Sean Mannion looked for Cooks running a short post on the right side. Cooks caught it around the 4 and hurtled toward the end zone, with three Stanford defenders in the way. Cooks dove under safety Ed Reynolds, his main foe near the goal line, while defensive tackle David Parry and linebacker A.J. Tarpley tried to squeeze him from getting in for the score. Cooks barely made it. The physicality of the play was impressive; Cooks knew he’d get clobbered, but he went for it nonetheless—and he won.

But there are other assets. I saw two high leaps where he came down for the ball fighting a defensive back. He is a very good boundary receiver, with good awareness of the sideline and end line, and good ability to get his feet down when he looks to be completely concentrating on the ball. And he’s a plucker of the ball; his hands dart out, grab the ball softly and bring it in.

“I’m a playmaker,” Cooks said at the combine. “I’m able to create plays from nothing—able to catch a three-yard ball, take it the distance. Speed kills, and I feel like that’s what I’m going to bring to the game.”

This is a terrific receiver class—Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Marqise Lee are the more highly regarded and bigger receivers, and fast-riser Odell Beckham is another high-pick contender. The quantity and quality will likely push Cooks down to the second half of the first round; there’s a slight chance he’d fall to the second round, but with wideout-needy teams late in the first round (New England, Baltimore, Cleveland, Carolina, San Francisco), it’s highly unlikely he’ll make it out. Seeing as they have a huge need for a playmaker, the Jets, at 18, would be a great landing spot for Cooks.

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COMPARES TO: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams - Cooks is a slightly bigger, not as fast version of Austin due to explosive feet, open-field moves and natural athleticism that makes him a home-run threat whenever he touches the ball.

Sounds like a Percy Harvin/ Steve Smith, no?

This is exactly what I was about to come post. He's a smaller Percy Harvin or a quicker Steve Smith. He is what everyone wanted from Tavon Austin. He's just not getting the Austin hype.
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COMPARES TO: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams - Cooks is a slightly bigger, not as fast version of Austin due to explosive feet, open-field moves and natural athleticism that makes him a home-run threat whenever he touches the ball.

Sounds like a Percy Harvin/ Steve Smith, no?

This is exactly what I was about to come post. He's a smaller Percy Harvin or a quicker Steve Smith. He is what everyone wanted from Tavon Austin. He's just not getting the Austin hype.

Austin led his team in catches for the receiver position with a crappy QB and had just as good of a season as Patterson who has all they hype. What do you mean what people wanted from Austin?

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COMPARES TO: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams - Cooks is a slightly bigger, not as fast version of Austin due to explosive feet, open-field moves and natural athleticism that makes him a home-run threat whenever he touches the ball.

Sounds like a Percy Harvin/ Steve Smith, no?

This is exactly what I was about to come post. He's a smaller Percy Harvin or a quicker Steve Smith. He is what everyone wanted from Tavon Austin. He's just not getting the Austin hype.

Austin led his team in catches for the receiver position with a crappy QB and had just as good of a season as Patterson who has all they hype. What do you mean what people wanted from Austin?

Austin didn't make as many plays downfield like Cooks did. Cooks was a traditional receiver, while Austin was a gadget player.

Stedman Bailey looked pretty good with Kellen Clemens. How do you explain that?

Edited by Xue
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COMPARES TO: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams - Cooks is a slightly bigger, not as fast version of Austin due to explosive feet, open-field moves and natural athleticism that makes him a home-run threat whenever he touches the ball.

Sounds like a Percy Harvin/ Steve Smith, no?

This is exactly what I was about to come post. He's a smaller Percy Harvin or a quicker Steve Smith. He is what everyone wanted from Tavon Austin. He's just not getting the Austin hype.

Austin led his team in catches for the receiver position with a crappy QB and had just as good of a season as Patterson who has all they hype. What do you mean what people wanted from Austin?

Wth are you talking about? No one mentioned Patterson. And I'm simply talking about them as prospects, not playing with Kellen Clemens. That shouldn't be hard to understand.

Cooks has Austin's speed, but he isn't anorexic in a ever growing NFL. He's a bit taller, 15+ pounds, bigger hands and longer arms. They both played in fast pace offenses, Cooks had better raw numbers and great numbers when you consider strength of opponent. They both have breakaway speed. Cooks can take a hit. He can work the middle more. He has a better feel for the game, to me. He doesn't just use speed as his main weapon. Like Steve Smith.. he can beat you is the short game, but he can also beat you deep and fight for jump balls. As far as small/speed recievers go he is flawless. He's a bit short but that's just nitpicking. So yea, he's a bigger, badder Tavon Austin. He just doesn't have the hype that will drive him to top-10 draft status.

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