Rookie receiver Brandin Cooks has been turning heads all camp and the scrimmage today was no different.
The explosive player keeps managing to top himself with each and every passing day. The rookie’s highlights from Saturday include; Cooks torched cornerback Rod Sweeting with a sharp cut for a touchdown of about 25-30 yards, leaped up to reel in a deep ball behind cornerback Patrick Robinson at the 1 yard line and broke a big gain on a kickoff return.
Unofficially Cooks caught a total of six passes (some against the first string defense and some against second stringers).
Not to set expectations too high for Cooks, but it really has been amazing how consistent and versatile he has been. He has thrived by flashing his speed and quickness, as well as his ball-catching ability.
Obviously a couple of weeks of training can’t speak for an entire season’s performance, especially in a deep Saints offense that likes to spread the ball around. Even so, he’s left quiet the impression on his teammates.
Earlier in camp, quarterback Drew Brees raved about the way Cooks can do a little bit of everything.
He may have even struck a little fear in his defenders Saturday after the scrimmage.
“I’m sure glad he is my teammate,” linebacker Curtis Lofton said. “I never want to see him catch a ball, but when he does catch a ball its pretty special. You can’t say enough about his speed. I always say it seems like he gets shot out a rocket when he gets the ball in his hand.”
“He’s zero to sixty, when he gets the ball in his hands he’s dangerous,” linebacker David Hawthorne said. “We were all saying ‘I hope I don’t have
to cover the guy.’ And those who did have to cover him were like, ‘Give me a little help.’ He’s a great young player. He’s going to do well.”
“Obviously today we were going against our offense, so I was really upset,” outside linebacker Junior Galette said. “But its really an amazing thing to watch. He’s everything we expected him to be so far.”
The Saints’ coaching staff is also pleased with the rookie’s performance.
“He’s explosive,” Coach Sean Payton said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “He’s a player that if you can get the ball to him in space, he has a chance to give you some run after the catch. And he did that today. “You’ve just got to keep working with him on a lot of the nuances and specifics wight he passing game. It was good to see him make a few plays.”
And for the 5-foot-10, 189-pound Cooks, making plays is nothing new. He put up some monster numbers at Oregon State last season including 128 catches, 1,730 yards, and 16 touchdowns, before posting some equally monstrous mearsurables at the NFL scouting combine (4.33 seconds in the 40 yard dash).
Payton doesn’t seem worried about Cooks getting a big head over his early success because of his makeup- another outstanding trait the Saints raved about when they traded up to draft Cooks with the 20th overall pick.
“Most of these young players, these rookies, understand how much they have to get up to speed with and where they are behind,” Payton said. “Every one of them has a lot of work todo and that includes Cooks. If you are around him long enough, I think you get a sense from him that he understands that. I think its a process and we’re really just completing the first week of it.”