While the Rams have added significant playmakers on defense throughout the offseason, Tuesday's trade for wide receiver Brandin Cooks was the first true addition to Los Angeles' offense for 2018.
Cooks has been an impact player since entering the league as a Saints first-round pick back in 2014, having recorded 280 receptions for 3,943 yards and 27 touchdowns in his first four seasons. He's also reached 1,000 yards receiving and at least seven touchdowns in each of the last three seasons — becoming only the fourth player to accomplish the feat before his 25th birthday. Additionally, Cooks has nine touchdown receptions of at least 40 yards since 2015— tied for the most in the NFL.
All of those elements have head coach Sean McVay excited to add Cooks to Los Angeles' offense.
"I've always been a fan of this guy," McVay said during an interview with ESPN Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.
Best photos of newly acquired WR Brandin Cooks. (Photos by AP)
According to McVay, after wideout Sammy Watkins departed for Kansas City in free agency, Los Angeles began looking into ways to replace him on the perimeter. And while the club explored different avenues, McVay said, "We felt like the Cooks situation was something that was going to be exactly what we wanted and we were able to get that done."
McVay also told Keyshawn, Jorge, and LZ that he spoke to a variety of people about Cooks when the Rams began looking into acquiring him.
"I've had the chance to talk to a lot of people — whether it be guys in New Orleans with coach [Sean] Payton or people that have been exposed to him with the Patriots, and even going all the way back to Oregon State with his time where he and [Rams backup QB] Sean Mannion had a lot of success together," McVay said.
McVay appears to have come away impressed with the man, but had already been dazzled by the young wideout's tape.
"Really, just watching from him coming out, [he's] just a strong, physical — he might be smaller in stature, but he's a physical player. He's wired to separate. You see him compete after the catch, you see him compete down the field," McVay said. "And I think being able to play in two systems that I have a lot of respect for with New Orleans and New England, you can really evaluate a variety of routes. And they were moving him around, playing in the slot, playing outside. And that's the thing that you're excited about," McVay continued, "is this guy's got the ability to create in a variety of ways. And there's really no limitations in how you can utilize him."
"And all you really hear about Brandin is just what a phenomenal guy he is," McVay later added. "He's got enough tape that you can evaluate and say, certainly, I don't really care what system it is — this guy fits in any system because he can play ball."
The Rams are set to introduce Cooks and new defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in a press conference with McVay and general manger Les Snead on Thursday at 11 a.m.