Brandin Cooks for the Jets at 18. #KRM
With Gilbert off the board, I think we’ve moved into the no-longer-slam-dunk pick phase of the draft. Here now is Zarathustra’s second pick1 for the KRM.
Let me preface all of this by saying I am not a fan of this pick, but unfortunately the New York Jets aren’t seeking my counsel and I am charged with picking as I believe they would pick in this scenario. I suspect they would much prefer Gilbert or Dennard, but they are off the board and wide receiver is probably their biggest need.2 Cooks appears to be a guy they like.
And there is plenty to like. He’s fast (4.33 40), fluid (3.81 in the short shuttle and 6.76 in the three-cone), and runs good routes (I have no effing clue how to judge this as I’ve never watched the 22 film and honestly probably wouldn’t be able to tell even if I had so I am just parroting the experts here.).3
Oregon State had the third ranked passing offense in the country and he was by far the largest share of that–he accounted for 31% of the teams receptions and 36% of the Beaver passing offense. His size is a concern but he has been remarkably durable, never having missed a game EVER at any level. Moreover, he is comparable to DeSean Jackson from a size/speed perspective. Marty Mornhinweg, having had success with a small and fast receiver like Jackson, is probably less concerned about size than others may be in a league where bigger receivers are once again trending.
But…can he handle the bigger more physical corners he will see on the outside or he is just a slot receiver? I am by no means one to diminish the value of a great slot receiver, but there are certain characteristics a receiver must possess to excel in the slot and thereby warrant a first round grade. I do not believe Cooks possesses these characteristics. I watched quite a bit of Beaver football through the early conference schedule–and very little thereafter–and Cooks was definitely everywhere but I don’t recall ever projecting him as a premier slot guy on Sundays.
In all my reading of scouting reports online the one weakness cited that screamed at me, echoing in the recesses of my memory, is “needs to avoid running backwards.” This rarely works in college. This almost never works in the NFL. Other weaknesses: “avoids contact”, “doesn’t make great decisions after the catch,” and “would much rather escape out-of-bounds.”
This does not sound to me like the psychological make-up for the type of fearless lunatic it takes to successfully man the slot in the NFL. So if he doesn’t project well in the slot and lacks the size and strength to consistently beat bigger corners on the outside what we have is a prolific college receiver that played in a gimmick offense and wowed scouts with his combine performance.4
I hate this pick. I would take Odell Beckham. But as Kurtis Blow taught me when I was still just a wee ‘lil lad… sometimes these are the breaks.
We have trashycamaro on deck for the Dolphins next.