Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State is the next receiver that I have decided to analyze. Once again, thanks to draftbreakdown.com for the game film. Before I dive into the film, my prior knowledge is that Cooks is a smaller-framed pass-catcher with blazing speed and big play ability. His performance at the NFL Combine helped boost his stock and many draft pundits believe he could land in the 1st round of the 2014 Draft. Here’s what the tape tells me about Brandin.
Cooks is another guy that benefits from getting the ball in his hands quick in the down. A fair amount of flanker screens helped get him going in games. Brandin appears to rely on his speed predominately while running routes and on his releases. When he uses explosive movements at the LOS he is much more effective. At times, defenders got their hands on Brandin, and he had some issues separating for his QB. When he was asked to execute routes with sharp cuts, he was able to transition very easily.
One thing that makes Cooks special is his ability to make tacklers miss and turn an average play a big one with his agility and speed combination. The play that best shows his YAC ability was in the 3rd quarter against Washington. Cooks took a pedestrian 5 yd hitch on a catch and run that featured five broken tackles, and a side roll off a defender’s back while maintaining enough balance to keep his feet and scamper into the endzone. The play was reviewed to reveal that his toe stepped out of bounds.
I saw Brandin show strong hands and the ability to make the contested catch down the field. The drops that he did encounter were from an under-thrown ball that gave the defender time to recover, and the occasional lack of concentration that all WRs have encountered.
I think Cooks compares to T.Y. Hilton or Tavon Austin, physically. He will need coaching on his press release techniques so he isn’t forced wide. His best attribute is his speed and agility, and he will be best utilized in situations where free releases are available. He is a solid player with a lot to build on, I’m interested where he will land in the draft.