Speedy Cooks Offers Depth at Wideout

Posted Apr 30, 2014

Oregon State wideout and #RamsDraft prospect Brandin Cooks hopes his 4.33 40-yard dash time can elevate him into the first round of the NFL Draft.

Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks has often missed the draft headlines at his position that have typically been reserved for Clemson’s Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, but in a particularly deep receiver class, Cooks could find himself selected in the first round in May.

Cooks is perhaps the fastest player among this year’s receiving crop, evidenced by his 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. That time was not only among the best this year, it was the seventh-best time by a receiver in the past nine years.

WATCH: Brandin Cooks #NFLCombine Highlights draft analyst Mike Mayock was particularly impressed with the way Cooks separated himself from much of the receiver class at the Combine.

“Cooks had a big day,” Mayock said. “He’s a kid that I thought made a statement of, ‘I’m a first-round pick.”

Cooks’ draft stock elevated quickly during a 2013 season that included 128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior with Oregon State. Last year’s production outpaced both his freshman and sophomore years combined.

When looking for comparisons to Cooks’ draft profile, one may look no further than the Rams’ pick of Tavon Austin at eighth overall last year. Like Austin, Cooks turned in a volume-heavy junior season through the air, while also contributing from the backfield. Cooks received 32 carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns last fall. He also returned 12 punts for 72 yards. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper similarly likened Cooks’ draft profile to that of Austin, though

Cooks’ 5’10,” 189-pound frame is slightly larger than that of the Rams’ first-round selection of a year ago. Similar to Austin, Cooks’ physical attributes make him an attractive option as a slot receiver in the NFL, in addition to occasionally moving to the outside.

Weeks ago, Cooks appeared destined for a late first-round or early second-round draft choice. Today, he ranks as high as the fourth overall receiver prospect, behind Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans and USC’s Marqise Lee.

In the most recent mock draft panel of eight draft analysts at, Cooks was chosen as high as 18th overall to the New York Jets, with each of the analysts choosing Cooks at some point in the first round.

That draft slot would have him chosen after the Rams’ second first-round pick, at 13th overall. Whether or not the Rams will find themselves in the market for a first-round receiver, however, remains in question. The team enters this draft already heavy at the receiver position, and the group has received votes of confidence from both Head Coach Jeff Fisher and General Manager Les Snead throughout this offseason.

However if they elect not to upgrade with the likes of Watkins or Evans early in the first round, Cooks or one of his contemporaries could represent an upgrade at the position in the latter portion of the first round.