The New Orleans Saints have drafted Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks with the No. 20 pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Arizona Cardinals originally held the No. 20 spot, but the Saints traded up seven spots to get their guy. New Orleans gave up the No. 27 and No. 91 picks to move up. The addition of Cooks gives Drew Brees yet another offensive weapon to work with.
Danny Kelly notes that Cooks gives the Saints a catch-and-run option for the offense like Darren Sproles who was traded this offseason:
Cooks is definitely an interesting piece of the Saints' offensive puzzle, and while he doesn't have the same body-type as recently departed RB Darren Sproles, he can play a similar role as a catch and run type of player inside the numbers. Sproles took handoffs in the backfield at times, but was most dangerous after the catch as a receiver, and if I had to guess, I'd say that Sean Payton sees Cooks as a potential replacement in YAC (yards after the catch) in his explosive offense.
Cooks is coming off a Biletnikoff Award-winning season, during which he compiled 128 receptions for 1,730 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, he was considered one of the best receiver prospects in this year's draft class.
Cooks' reception and yardage totals were both Pac-12 records. He somehow posted those numbers while being held below 100 yards receiving in four games. Cooks was prolific thanks to his impressive speed. However, some believe his size -- Cooks is 5'10, 189 pounds -- could hinder him at the next level.
In his scouting report of Cooks, former NFL defensive end Stephen White explained:
I think I already wrote about this, but all things being even, if I have my choice between two evenly skilled wide receivers, I'm usually going to pick the taller of the two. No offense to short people. I want a guy who can not only make a play when everything goes right, but also go up over a defender and make a play when everything breaks down. That's my personal preference and bias, which I'll acknowledge right off the bat.
Weight: 189 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.33 seconds
Bench press: 16 reps
Vertical jump: 36"
20-yard shuttle: 3.81 seconds
3-cone drill: 6.76 seconds
Cooks had a very impressive combine performance. His 40-yard dash was among the best this year, and he flashed all of the explosiveness and athleticism that was expected of him. He was considered a first-round pick and a top-five wideout prior to the draft. Cooks was ranked No. 30 on SB Nation's top 200 big board, which put him fifth among all receivers, behind Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee and Odell Beckham Jr.