Brandin Cooks   WR/ST   Oregon St

TALENT BOARD ROUND 3

STRENGTHS
Brandin has the speed and quickness of a woman traversing through a store on Black Friday to the accessory department for a sale on purses. This unique athletic ability allows him to play bigger than his size and be a danger every time he handles the ball. He has very quick feet and can cut and explode out of his cuts with good power to gain yardage after the catch. Brandin not only gives you the threat of a playmaker on offense every time he touches the ball, he also is a threat on special teams and the type of player who most special teams coordinators will tell their kickers to kick away from. He is dangerous and when Brandin is on the field in any capacity he has to be accounted for.

CONCERNS
Brandin has a small catch radius. It seems that any ball thrown above his shoulders gives him problems securing the catch consistently. He struggles to go over the middle and catch the ball. He is a poor route runner because he relies too much on his speed. He does not run slant routes and crossing routes with the authority, explosion and separation you would expect from a player with his speed and quickness. He struggles to catch the ball when players body up on him and he struggles to get off the line against bump and run techniques. He can explode and get deep with ease, but if he is double-teamed with a safety over the top, he struggles to complete his deep routes and settles for being a decoy. There is a lack of overall mental toughness to Brandinís game and this, along with questionable hands in traffic and the lack of ball security, makes me think that Brandin isnít anything more than a specialty player for the team that selects him. Thatís not a bad thing; he still can have an impact as his speed is dangerous.

BOTTOM LINE
At the college level, Brandinís opponents were running double teams in the locker room before the game started. His speed was demoralizing to his opponents. At the next level, Brandin is going to have to prove he can handle the physical play that most teams will throw at him or he will only impact as a specialty player. With his speed, that could be enough and maybe thatís all Brandin wants to be -- a specialty player who runs back punts and kicks and comes onto the field as the 4th or 5th receiver. His speed is impressive, but for the next level, Brandin does not catch the ball consistently well enough to be the same deep threat that he has been at the college level. He also has to learn to secure the ball in traffic and come down with the tough catches or he will not be much of a red zone receiver. In the middle of the field, the threat of his speed will open up the running game, but as soon as most teams realize that he struggles to catch the ball consistently on every route, can be pushed off his routes and make him struggle to get into his routes off the line, double teams will not be necessary and Brandinís impact as a receiver becomes less worrisome for defenses. Nevertheless, Brandin will be a special teamís nightmare and I suspect because of that and his speed, that some teams will be looking at selecting him earlier than I have him rated. For me, I question his hands and toughness to become a starting receiver. As a slot or #3 receiver with special teams skills, he could impact big timeÖ if he becomes more consistent catching the ball, runs better routes and improves in mental toughness.

Drew Boylhart
MAR/2014