The 2014 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and as a result, I will be providing my readers a spotlight on some possible day one draft prospects for the San Francisco 49ers. One thing that I will not rule out is a trade up because of the abundance of picks that the 49ers have along with the possibility of them really placing a priority on a prospect. Next up is Brandin Cooks. It is only right that I talk about the former Oregon State wide receiver.
Cooks is a lock to go in the first round. His short area quickness and speed is elite. The best thing about Cooks is that his best assets transfer onto the field. He is not your typical small receiver. Cooks has shown the ability to go up and make contested catches as well as take a short throw and take it the distance. He is able to shift into a higher gear and accelerate away from defenders. Cooks can change direction without losing any momentum which makes him so dangerous after the catch. He is a fearless receiver that will go across the middle without hesitation. He has the ability to get in and out of his breaks with ease which makes him a very difficult matchup for bigger corners. Don’t let his smaller size fool you. Cooks is a red zone threat and he relishes those who doubt him because of his size.
“You can’t measure heart. Us 5-10 guys, I feel like we are changing the game. Guys like Steve Smith who’s really explosive. Victor Cruz is so smooth. DeSean Jackson, once we put the pads on and get on the field, we change people’s thoughts. Once I step on the field, all of the questions will change. I am 5-10 but I play like I am 6-3. I win at the line consistently. My shiftiness will give corners a hard time getting their hands on me. They will have to pick their battle. They press and miss, I will blow by them. They play off, that’s just a free release.”
Cooks is one of the most explosive players in this draft. He was almost uncoverable in one on one coverage and often times, he drew double even triple coverage. He got the opportunity to be the top target last year after Markus Wheaton was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The results showed that he is fully able to be a feature part of the offense. There is more to his game than just speed. He is able to make plays from the slot position but he can also make plays on the outside. He isn’t limited to running jerk routes from the slot. His route running is solid as well. Cooks is able to use head fakes and has the ability to start/stop with ease. When watching him play, you see his legs moving so fast. That caused me to name him Dash after the little fast guy from the movie The Incredibles.
How will he help the 49ers?
Brandin Cooks is a fast twitch receiver that can take the top off of defenses. He would give the 49ers a different kind of threat from the slot position and on the outside. They lack receivers that can just line up and run by defensive backs. He also is a player that they can use on jet sweeps and quick hitting passing plays. The element of speed is missing on this team, at least at the receiver position. Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are able to break long plays but they are more of a threat when it comes to keeping drives alive. Cooks is also able to help out in the return game. He did plenty of punt returns at Oregon State and would be a good possibility at kick off return.
NFL Comparison: Antonio Brown. Just like Brown, Brandin Cooks can win on the outside and from the slot. Both players are smaller receivers that are able to be downfield threats and break off plenty of yards after the catch. Brown broke into the NFL as a return guy which may be the route that Cooks takes initially.
5-9 189 pounds
30 3/4 inch arms
9 5/8 inch hands
4.33 40 yd dash
3.81 20 yd shuttle
36 inch vertical
10.0 broad jump
16 reps bench press