My dream scenario was leaving this draft with Brandin Cooks coming in. I knew the chances were slim given the way the board was playing out, but that was assuming the Saints would stay at 27. The Saints made the move they had to make, though, giving up the 27th pick along with a 3rd round this year to move to 20 and get their man. The Cardinals were the trading party. Cooks adds a massive element to the Saints’ offense. They now have that elite field stretcher with 4.3 speed that will open up things underneath and force defenses to respect over the top. Cooks has elite hands, runs excellent routes and has blazing speed. The only drawback is his size, he’s pretty short, but his height is the same as DeSean Jackson and he’s 20 pounds heavier. He’s also faster than Jackson. Cooks is also an explosive return man that will be able to replace Darren Sproles in that capacity. This is a huge get for the Saints from a playmaking standpoint and Drew Brees is undoubtedly thrilled. Cooks is also a fantastic character player that will fit in the Saints’ locker room impeccably. I couldn’t be happier with how this first round turned out, and giving up a 3rd round pick to get him was totally worth it.
Here’s his write up on NFL.com:
Light on his feet with terrific balance. Sinks his hips with ease and pops out of breaks to separate. Tracks and adjusts. Quick hands. Good concentration, body control and boundary awareness. Can turn a short throw into a long gain. Shows elusiveness, creativity and vision after the catch. Unafraid to play in the tall trees. Highly productive — totaled 195 receptions for 2,881 yards (15.4-yard average) and 21 TDs in last two seasons. Confident and competitive. Has been exceptionally durable dating back to high school. Team captain. Will be a 21-year-old rookie.
Size is just adequate — is small-framed and lacks ideal length and bulk. Vulnerable to the jam and reroute. Relatively small catch radius. Has small hands and double-catches some throws. Lacks elite, blazing speed to run by NFL corners and safeties. Will struggle to play “above the rim” at the next level. Was not an impactful punt returner. Limited run strength. Poor blocker.
Short, speedy, nifty-footed receiver who was unaffected by the departure of Steelers 2013 third-rounder Markus Wheaton, establishing himself as a playmaker in his own right by leading the nation with 133 yards per contest as a junior. Projects as a useful slot receiver with run-after-catch ability and some utility as an outside receiver.
The bottom line is Sean Payton is one of the best, if not the best, offensive mind in the game. He will find ways to get the ball in Cooks’ hands and he will maximize his talents. This is a difference making selection for the Saints offense. If you feel like the Saints offense was starting to regress, this is a move that firmly points the arrow back up.
The Saints now have 5 picks left in the 2014 draft barring any more trades: a 2nd, a 4th, two 5ths and a 6th.