(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is Oregon State's Brandin Cooks.)
College: Oregon State
Honors:Cooks was an awards machine last year, most notably taking home the Biletnikoff Award for college football's top receiver in 2013. He was a consensus All-American and named to the Pac-12 first team.
Key stat:He broke the Pac-12 single season record with 128 receptions and set a conference record with 1,730 receiving yards last season. His 24 career receiving touchdowns set an Oregon State record, as did his single-season receiving touchdown count of 16 last year.
Where He's Projected: Cooks has been a hot commodity since the end of his historic 2013 season, as the former Junior Olympics sprinter ran a blazing 4.33 at the NFL Combine. He's vaulted himself into first-round consideration, and he'll likely be one of the top five receivers off the board this week.
How He Helps the Cowboys:If the Cowboys want to add serious speed and shiftiness at receiver, Cooks is their guy. He might be the perfect presence alongside Dez Bryant, an athletic superstar who thrives near the goal line, and Terrance Williams, who's a solid all-around No. 2. He's only 5-10, but Cooks' speed provides something the Cowboys don't have a ton of at the position. He may be a more likely candidate for Dallas in a first-round trade-down scenario.
Scout's Take – Bryan Broaddus:
He's not a hard guy to find on film when you study Oregon State. He's as explosive as they come. Some serious quickness in his routes. Has some upper body tightness, but his feet move really quick. Coaches do the best they can to get the ball in his hands. He'll run reverses and screens over and over again. Will play on the outside or in the slot and can get in his routes in a hurry. He can eat up a defender's cushion quickly. Cooks will fight for space when corners walk up on him. He's unafraid to be physical and push off to buy space, which he did against Boise State. I thought that Oregon did a really nice job of locking him down and making him have to work hard to get open the entire game. Thought for his height, he did a nice job of adjusting to the ball. [embedded_ad]
He'll catch the ball in his hands and can really snatch it on the move. Very shifty in the way he plays. He has the moves and quickness to run himself out of trouble. He'll get down instead of taking a big hit. Cooks has outstanding stop-start quickness, running a 3.81 in the 20 shuttle at the Combine, and you can see this in the way he plays. He's good on those option routes where they can get him the ball quickly in space. Really good body control. He made a big-time catch against Washington along the sideline. He was able to keep his feet in bounds and show balance for a touchdown. He has to go all over the place for the ball, because the quarterback does him no favors.
He has hands that are better than the Austin kid that the Rams took last season. He does show the same explosive quickness, but doesn't make the long plays that Austin made on tape. I mentioned that he has played both inside and out, but believe he needs to play inside as a mismatch player. He doesn't have the ideal height you would like in a receiver, but there is no doubt in his ability to make things happen. More of a consideration for me in the second round than first, but would not be surprised if someone grabbed him in the late first.