With the recent departure of DeSean Jackson, under what could be graciously be called unusual circumstances, the Philadelphia Eagles are almost certainly in the market for a new slot receiver. Brandin Cooks, following a productive junior year at Oregon State, has been flying up draft boards after a scintillating performance at the combine.
Cooks' rise has been a slow but steady one. He's shown improvement every year, dating back to high school. As a true freshman with the Beavers, he only started three games, but as a sophomore, he exploded onto the national scene. Teaming with Markus Wheaton (a 3rd round choice for the Steelers last year), they formed one of the most dynamic duos in the country. Cooks erupted for 1,151 yards and 5 TDs, and upon Wheaton's departure, took a dynamic leap forward in his junior season. He finished with a staggering 128 receptions, 1,730 receiving yards and 16 TDs. The receptions and yards both set Pac-10 records.
While his game tape is impressive, what has scouts salivating is that his combine numbers have confirmed what's visible to the naked eye. Cooks ran the 40 yard dash in 4.33 seconds, and even more eye popping were his numbers in the change of direction drills. He ran the short shuttle in 3.81 seconds and the three cone drill in 6.76 seconds. The three cone drill is considered by many to be the best judge of a player's speed under game conditions.
His quickness in the slot and ability to get to the edge on opposing DBs makes him a perfect fit for Chip Kelly's system. He also shows a great ability to make receptions in traffic, showing exceptional body control. Not to mention that Coach Kelly is undoubtedly familiar with Cooks from his Oregon Ducks coaching days. Cooks went for 5 catches and 74 yards against Kelly's Ducks in 2012.
Brandin Cooks has risen to the #3 WR slot on Mel Kiper's board, and should be available when Philadelphia selects at 22. Given their need to replace DeSean Jackson's production, combined with Cooks' skills and schematic fit, I believe it will be a no-brainer for the Eagles to select him.