Los Angeles traded its first-round pick and a sixth-round pick in this month’s NFL Draft to acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks. In just four seasons, Cooks has already amassed 3,943 yards receiving and 27 career touchdowns.
Known for his speed, Cooks is a threat for an explosive play every snap he’s on the field. But where will he slot in the Rams’ offensive scheme?
“He’ll be the X receiver. He’ll take over the role that was left by Sammy Watkins going to Kansas City,” head coach Sean McVay said last week. “That’s a big part of our offense.”
“He’s a perfect fit,” wide receivers coach Eric Yarber said. “He’s that missing piece to the puzzle.”
Though the Rams have had interest in Cooks dating back to the 2017 offseason, McVay admitted Watkins’ departure did raise the urgency in the Rams’ desire to bring Cooks to L.A.
Check out photos from new Rams' WR Brandin Cooks' introductory press conference.
“Les and really our coaching staff and our personnel staff, we’ve had great dialogue in terms of kind of how we wanted to fill that void left by Sammy,” McVay said, referring to general manager Les Snead. “And whether you’re looking at it through the draft or some possible trades, credit to Les and being able to get that dialogue going. … And when we had the opportunity to potentially acquire him, we wanted to be aggressive about pursuing that.”
So what does it mean to be an “X” receiver in McVay’s offense?
“A lot of times when you get into some 3-by-1 formations, typically that’s the guy isolated on the backside,” McVay said. “But, as you guys know, we’ll move people around and he’ll be lined up in a variety of roles. But when we start out, he’ll be our X receiver and really excited about watching he, and Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp — really our receiver group as a whole.”
“He’s going to be able to do those third level routes, the deep routes to open it up for the underneath receiver,” Yarber said. “Then we can put him in the slot and motion him around. It’s another guy that can do jet sweeps for us, so he’s a guy that can do it all.”
In addition to his yards receiving, Cooks does have 161 career yards rushing on 30 carries with one touchdown. He also recorded 340 yards rushing on 61 carries with a pair of touchdowns at Oregon State.
That’s part of why McVay seem to see Cooks as a game-changing talent, no matter where he is on the field.
“[H]e fits kind of into any system. This guy can play,” McVay said. “But I think specific to some of the things that we look for — the traits and specifics that we look for from our X receiver — being able to take the top shelf off the coverage, being able to win on some underneath iso’s when you’re gettin bump coverage. He’s put that on tape really over the last four years and that was something that we were really excited about.”