After agreeing to a trade with the Arizona Cardinals in order to move up in the first round, the New Orleans Saints selected Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks with the 20th overall pick.
Cooks, who does not turn 21 until late September, will join Sean Payton's squad with a chance to play a significant role right off the bat. The Saints were eager to add a receiver in this year's draft, and have got their guy thanks to a deal that sees them swap first round spots with Arizona(27), and sends their 3rd round pick (91st overall) to the desert. Brandin Cooks
The winner of the 2013 Biletnikoff award, Cooks is coming off a prolific season in which he led the nation in receiving yards (1,730) with 16 touchdowns. An exceptional athlete, Cooks recorded a 4.33 second 40-yard dash time, and has competed in the Junior Olympics. The consensus All-American improved year to year in his three seasons with the Beavers, while also competing for the school's Track program.
With Lance Moore now in Pittsburgh, and Darren Sproles now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Cooks figures to help fill in the gaps that may linger in the Saints' offense following those two departures. The team was likely to use an early draft pick to help upgrade the talent and depth behind Marques Colston. Cooks and Kenny Stills now present a talented young duo to complement Colston as the Saints move forward into 2014.
The 5-9 189 Cooks should help the Saints stretch the field and could use his explosiveness to take shorter, designed plays long distances . New Orleans will hope to develop him as a threat from the slot, and could also give him a shot to help contribute in the return game. While diminutive in stature, Cooks has high-end playmaking ability and should be poised to have a productive career as he grows alongside Payton and Drew Brees. Electrifying in the open field, Payton will look to use Cooks in a variety of ways within his offense.
Most Saints fans were hoping to see one of the team's top two picks used on a receiver. The 2014 crop of talent at the position is as deep as any in recent memory, and New Orleans was always thought to be extremely high on Brandin Cooks. The team has a history of moving up for players they covet early under G.M. Mickey Loomis, and did so Thursday night for the fifth time in his tenure. It was the first time such a trade was made since the team moved back into the latter part of the round to select Mark Ingram in 2011.
Brandin Cooks is a high-character young man who possesses rich, natural athleticism and a set of skills as a receiver that translate well to the pro level. The Stockton, CA native figures to have a chance to contribute in an important role straight away. Having traded up to get him, it's likely the Saints view him as a potential immediate contributor, and Cooks will certainly be playing in an offense that is suited for playmakers like himself.