Seahawks showing interest in Brandin Cooks

April 5th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Kippy Brown, Seahawks receivers coach, speaking to Brandin Cooks at his pro day

According to the man himself, Brandin Cooks has a workout or visit scheduled with the Seattle Seahawks.

It certainly looks like more than a passing interest. Kippy Brown attended his pro day and spent some time chatting with Cooks (see above). I think most people would say it’d be an upset if he lasted until #32, but you never know.

One other angle worth considering is scouting-in-advance. New England are bringing Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel to their facility. They might be looking at potential replacements for Tom Brady (who turns 37 in August), but they’ve also been known to use these sessions to get a good look at a player they might be competing against in the future.

Several NFC foes pick in the 20′s — Arizona (#20), Philadelphia (#22), New Orleans (#27), Carolina (#28) and San Francisco (#30). You could make a case for all drafting Cooks if he’s available in their slot.

Are the Seahawks planning ahead? Maybe.

Yet at the same time they might have genuine interest themselves. Not everything has to be kept under wraps — it was common knowledge they went bowling with Russell Okung before the 2010 draft.

I mean, would anyone in the NFL be shocked that Seattle might take Brandin Cooks at #32? Most would be more shocked if he was actually available there in the first place.

I spent a bit of time looking through Oregon State tape tonight, sifting through Cooks vs Washington, Stanford, Boise State, Hawaii, Colorado and Utah.

The first thing that really stands out is he can fly. He’s a shade under 5-10 and just 189lbs — but he kind of looks bigger on tape. And he can move. The 4.33 speed at the combine wasn’t a fluke. He’s a naturally talented sprinter who moves up through the gears quickly.

His best quality without a doubt is YAC. Oregon State used a ton of fly sweeps, quick hitters, bubble screens, receiver screens, slants and reverses to get the ball in his hands.

There’s not too much evidence he can be a sideline hugging, ‘win the redline’ type. In fact after watching the first five games today — I counted just one contested 50/50 pass against Hawaii. It doesn’t mean he can’t do it. He was rarely asked.

Then I watched the Colorado game and he high pointed two downfield shots and caught both. He also spent more time as a conventional wide out and made several catches in traffic. So the potential is there.

I think the Beavers just wanted to get him in space — and rightly so. He’s not going to win too many deep shots at 5-9. Golden Tate was a rare smaller receiver who high pointed the football incredibly well. Odell Beckham Jr is another player who competes well for his size. But they aren’t common.

Cooks had a ton of success running underneath, getting a quick pass and just exploding into the second level. He’s shifty, he’s tough to bring down and he eats up yards.

He’s incredibly adept at exploiting zone coverage. He’ll settle down into space — he really knows how to sell a route. On one touchdown he made three deliberate changes of direction in the corner of the end zone. Even in such a tight spot he had the corner tripping over his feet. He got open and made an easy score.

On another deep route he nailed a double move to find space in behind a corner and just in front of the safety. If the key talent any receiver needs is the ability to get open, Cooks ticks that particular box.

‘Elusive’ is a good way to describe him. Any team that drafts him needs to be creative. He’s very similar to Tavon Austin. St. Louis tried to fit Austin into a structured offense and wasted a year of his explosive potential. Whoever gets Cooks needs to appreciate what he’s best at — he needs plays in the playbook designed solely to get him the ball.

Get him in space and let him make things happen. He’s got a great spin move, he has that ‘gliding’ effect as a runner, he changes direction effortlessly. He’ll be a YAC monster at the next level in the right offense and he’s tough to bring down.

The one game that concerned me a little was the Washington tape. Marcus Peters had him for lunch by being physical and refusing to let him get into a rhythm. Peters was sensational on the day. Cooks didn’t come up against many cornerbacks like that — but he will at the next level. If he’s going to be more than a slant, sweep and reverse guy — he’ll need to be ready for the physical corners in the NFL.

He returned some punts but didn’t have a huge impact. I suspect he can improve here because of the elusiveness he showed in open play. But right now it’s not a strength.

He doesn’t drop easy passes but there are occasions when he lets the ball slip through his hands. It’s not a major concern.

One final note — I’ve not listed it here, but I remember the Oregon vs Oregon State game from 2013 vividly. The Ducks put three men on Cooks — they triple covered him. It’s not often you see that. They sold out the entire defense to cover Cooks. And he still had 110 yards in the game.

You can never have enough of these players on your roster and I think the Seahawks would consider putting Cooks and Percy Harvin on the same field and saying, “Good luck defending that.” They could test him out on punts, work him in the slot and over time try to develop him into a more rounded threat out wide.

If he lasts until #32 — which, again, seems unlikely — he’d be one of the best players left on the board and the value might be too good to pass.

But’s it’s a major stretch to imagine he’d get past Carolina at #28 or San Francisco at #30. Almost impossible I’d say.

And if they are scouting Cooks in advance — maybe we should expect the 49ers to make a move up the board in round one to get him?

23 Responses to “Seahawks showing interest in Brandin Cooks”

  1. MJ says:

    Good stuff Rob. If it’s any consolation, I personally think Marcus Peters is destined to be a top 20 pick when he comes out. And he’s unusually physical (very Seahawky) for a college CB.

    I share your same concerns and quite honestly, I prefer Latimer over Cooks for Seattle. Id be totally happy with Cooks but Latimer is the type that would add a new dimension to this offense. It’s really intriguing to see what might happen at 32. We shall see.

    Keep up the good work.

    • James says:

      I am still not convinced that Latimer would be the Seahawks pick at #32. John and Pete are really specific in their requirements, and I believe that their elusive (thus far) Split End has to be in the 6-4 or 6-5 range. Latimer has a lot going for him, and the Seahawks would take him for certain in R2, but I believe the Seahawks will only invest that R1 pick on a player that fits their full profile. Pete wants his 6-5 SE and will not rest until he gets him.

      • James says:

        The point is, the Seahawks already have a Latimer on the team and his name is Kearse. Jermaine is also under club control for the next two years, and should be signable after that. In R1, the history of PC & JS suggest that the pick will be someone bigger, faster and/or stronger. Latimer is an outstanding prospect, whose skill set is already on the team. It will be a 6-5 SE type (Benjamin), or they will go big-ugly at OL or DL (ie, Bitonio, Moses, Su’a-Filo, Tuitt, Hageman…). If there was a Leo they were in love with, that is also a need position (Clem gone and Avril’s last year under contract), but I just don’t see them going for Dee Ford, and the other Leos are similar and one would be there R2, if need be.

        • MJ says:

          I gotta disagree with this. While I’m sure PC wants a 6’5″ SE, they don’t grow on trees. Additionally, we just won the Super Bowl with 2 sub 6′ WRs playing on the outside. To say he won’t rest until he gets a 6’5″ WR is a little hyperbole. If the right guy is available, of course he’d probably draft him. But, I highly doubt that he’d pass on Odell Beckham at 32, just because he’s not 6’5″. Do you think they originally drew up a 5’10″ QB on paper when laying the groundwork of this team? They have their preferences but clearly aren’t handcuffed to them.

          I don’t understand the comparison of Kearse and Latimer. Kearse was a 6′ undrafted WR who struggled catching the ball consistently in college. Latimer is a legit 6’2″+ and has some of the best/sure hands in the draft. He also has a 39″ vert. I like Kearse, but I’m not seeing how they are redundant as Latimer is bigger, stronger, and faster than Kearse.

          You mention that they will draft someone “bigger, faster, stronger…” How does a 6’2″ 215 LB WR who benched 225 23 times, jumped almost 40″, and ran a low 4.4 on a recovering leg injury not qualify as this? I can understand you not liking Latimer as a prospect, but I think to pretend he doesn’t qualify as a R1 type of athlete is a bit disingenuous.

          I’m really not trying to be combative, I’m just not sure I understand the argument here. Lastly, I will pull my hair out if we draft Sua-Filo in R1. He got abused by better talent last year. Check out the Stanford game and imagine him in the NFc West. No thanks. Good debate/dialogue. This is the great part about the draft; 2 people can see the same player and see 2 totally different things. Cheers.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Peters is an exciting player. I’m looking forward to watching more of him next season.

  2. Stiz says:

    I’ve watched nearly every one of Cooks’ games and he is the real deal. I think he is more capable of being a conventional wideout than Tavon Austin.

    In fact one thing that has impressed me about him is his ability to high point the ball downfield, and compete against bigger corners for grabs. I know that’s not what was asked of him a lot, but he reminded me at times of Tate, making plays downfield in traffic.

    Like you say, doubt he makes it to 32, but I would be very pleased to get him (and not really happy if the niners do).

  3. connor says:

    To be honest after I watched tape of Cooks I soured on him a bit. He no doubt has elite straight line speed. But I feel he is a little limited in what he can do as a receiver. To me he is not a guy who makes contested catches in traffic and he doesn’t have a ton of wiggle, although when he gets into space he’s gone.

    I don’t think he is a bad receiver, although I do think he has some bust potential. I just see him more as a 3rd or 4th receiver who can make a big play here and there. Kind of a slightly better version of Marquise Goodwin.

    I could be wrong. But I rather have any of Benjamin,Bryant,Latimer,Beckham,Lee,Jordan Matthews,Allen Robinson,Bruce Ellington or L’damian Washington. (Not saying I would take all those guys at pick 32 just like them better overall then Cooks.)

  4. Cameron says:

    I’d be mildly disappointed with picking Cooks, to be honest. I don’t really see what he offers that Percy Harvin doesn’t. Harvin is like a rich man’s Brandin Cooks, but Harvin is bigger, and a lot more physical. I hope this is a smokescreen designed to make San Fran think we’re going to move up the board. Go ahead San Fran, burn some draft capital and move up to get this guy.

    • me says:

      Maybe he’ll actually play more than a dozen snaps per season. That’d be one big plus.

  5. Stuart says:

    Don’t you mean poor mans version of Percy Harvin? “Rich Man” suggest he is a better version of Percy.

    Russell Wilson is a “Rich Man’s” version of Fran Tarkenton. This suggest RW is a better version of FT, he is.

    Lots to like with Cooks, I just prefer Cody Latimer.

    Latimer’s stock is rising on the mock draft boards. I saw him today going in the early 2nd.

    If you are creating mock drafts, Rob has the best by far. It’s like the others copy Robs ideas…

  6. Cade says:

    A lot of people were comparing DJax and Cooks when DJax was on the market.

    So is Cooks able to take the top off the defense and play a more conventional WR role like DJax? I don’t see how we can fit enough specialized plays in for both him and Harvin.

  7. monkey says:

    You know, while I can certainly see why ANY team would be interested in Cooks, and I can certainly see how if he, by some miracle, slid to #32, he would almost certainly be the best player left the board regardless of who is left; but what I am having a hard time seeing is why the Seahawks in particular would have much interest…
    It seems to me that the Seahawks already have the role he’s best suited for, filled by a MUCH better player. Percy Harvin.
    What the Seahawks don’t have, is a big receiver.
    Add to that the fact that, the Seahawks stress winning that redline, maybe more than any team I’ve ever seen, and Cooks hasn’t really been asked to be the guy that does that…I just don’t see how he would fit.
    I mean, I EASILY see how he would be BPA at 32, and how they might be tempted to take him, and tweak the blueprint to fit him in…but they really would be ignoring the blueprint if they did.
    Again, we have Percy, that’s a big part of the reason we let Golden Tate walk, it seems pretty stupid to get another short YAC guy, who’s not as good as Harvin is, (even if he projects higher than Tate, and I personally think he does, because of that blazing speed).

    I’m just not seeing it with Cooks for that reason.

  8. CC says:

    If Seattle is showing interest in Cooks – SF will draft him – because that is what they do! Last year, they thought it was McDonald at Rice that Seattle wanted and they drafted him – while all along it was Willson.

    I like Cooks, and if he is there at 32, maybe you pick him. But if he is there and there are tall receivers like Bryant or Moncrief, I would have a hard time taking Cooks over one of them.

  9. EranUngar says:

    Here is one you’ll all like -

    http://nflmocks.com/2014/04/05/2014-nfl-mock-draft-update-trades-clowney-takes-top-spot/

    In this mock draft at 32nd we have Bitonio, Moses, Hageman Latimer and Bengamin available. Bitonio and Latimer are still there at 64th.

    We end up picking Bengamin and….Martavis Bryant. Now that’s commitment to a deep WR class.

    I thought it was hilarious.

    • CC says:

      If we get one of those receivers, that would be great! The 7 Round Bleacher report doesn’t have us taking any OL guys – so of course it is spot on!

      • EranUngar says:

        Hmmmm….Bleacher report are usually spot on in everything they do so your reaction is quite natural. If they mocked no OL we’ll need to manage without one. (or without BR…)

    • Robert says:

      I would be less surprised if Hageman and Benjamin were both gone by #32. But IF they were both available, what a dilemma – I am sure they are both very high on our board!

  10. Christon says:

    Player A: 5’9”, 186lbs, 4.28 40, 33.5” vertical, 15 bench reps, 9’7” broad jump, 4.44 short shuttle, 7.00 3-cone, 30 1/2” arm length, 9 1/2” hands.

    Player B: 5’10”, 189lbs, 4.33 40, 36” vertical, 16 bench reps, 10’0” broad, 3.81 short shuttle, 6.76 3-cone, 30 2/3” arm length, 9 5/8” hands.

    Player B isn’t as fast A but looks to me to be a better overall athlete or at least better change in direction player. Player A was drafted with pick 108 in the 4th round in the 2010 draft. Player A is Jacoby Ford and Player B is of course Brandin Cooks.

    Brandin Cooks is a more much polished receiver in my opinion than Jacoby Ford was at this point entering the draft but that’s who his tape most reminds me of in the NFL. Small, great straight line speed, and not super shifty on tape.

    Is Brandin Cooks’ polish and slightly better overall athleticism that much of a difference from going 108th to a top 25-lock in what is touted as one of the deepest drafts in a while? – I don’t know – that’s why I’m asking the question.

  11. Cameron says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if we aren’t starting to overrate this receiver class.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s an impressive class – the deepest positional group of this draft hands down. Every team would like to have 2 or 3 talented receivers – this draft presents the opportunity to do just that.

    On the other hand, there are other positions – less sexy positions and player types – that teams need talent at. Rarely do teams go pure BPA in the draft, it is always weighted at least somewhat towards needs. Does Detroit need to run 3 deep at WR? Seems like a luxury a team like that can’t afford. Talented 3rd and 4th receivers will be coming off the board well into the 4th and 5th round.

    Teams like San Fransisco and Seattle are being linked to receivers in the first two rounds. I’ve seen mocks with Seattle taking a receiver with both their 1st and 2nd round picks. Both these teams run formations with 2 or fewer receivers primarily. I would be less shocked if teams like Seattle and San Fran took zero receivers in the first couple rounds than if they took two.

    With all the attention this group is getting, it’s inevitable it would take on a life of its own at some point. I’m afraid it has. We need to look more closely at these other position groups. I for one am prepared to see us take zero receivers in the first two round. Wouldn’t be surprised at all.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Let’s put it this way. In my opinion the 7th or 8th receiver in this draft is better than the following:

      The 2nd best defensive end
      All of the cornerbacks
      All of the running backs
      The 2nd best defensive tackle
      All but two of the linebackers

      You noted Detroit. Their biggest need is in the secondary. They don’t ‘need’ to go receiver at #10, but they’re just as likely IMO to take a fantastic receiver like Marqise Lee as they are to reach on a cornerback 15 slots higher than they should be going.

      For every time I’ve projected Seattle to take a receiver, I’ve also had them going after players like Hageman, Bitonio, Tuitt or Demarcus Lawrence in my mocks.

      It’s not that we’ve ignored other positions. Having spent hours and hours watching video on these players — the receivers are just flat out better. I don’t know how anyone can say they’re overrated. If anything, most of them are underrated because the national pundits are spending a lot more time talking about mediocre players like Timmy Jernigan instead.

      I want us to be ahead of the curve and on this receiver class — I think we’re right there. They really are that good.

      • Cameron says:

        By and large I agree with you Rob, but I think you’re overstating the case for teams like the Lions and others taking a WR.

        Question: If Tavon Austin was in this WR class, what rank would you give him and what round would he be drafted in?

        I ask this because Austin was the first WR off the board in 2013, and the Rams traded up to get him. Surely you had DB’s and DT’s and Tackles rated higher overall than Austin? I know I did.

        Now, you and I have no idea where Austin was on the Rams big board. It certainly was a need. But it was also a position of scarcity, relatively speaking, and in order to get the best ones teams needed to be proactive.

        I think we may see the same thing this year. There will be reaches and teams will draft for need. It will be hard for teams to bypass plugging a hole in their defensive secondary in order to draft another receiver when they already have Calvin freaking Johnson.

        • Rob Staton says:

          The issue I have with this debate though, Cameron, is we’re not talking about players. We’re saying teams may or may not draft a position. I wouldn’t argue that Detroit don’t have bigger needs right now than a receiver (although, IMO, it remains a need considering the way they’re trying to build that team). But there isn’t a single cornerback in this class worthy of the #10 pick. It would be a titanic reach, in fact, to take Justin Gilbert in that spot, or Darqueze Dennard.

          On the other hand, Marqise Lee is a fantastic player. It would be excellent value in that spot. And there’s nothing to stop the Lions going corner in round two when the value is much greater (Fuller, Verrett, Roby).

          As soon as we introduce names and prospects into the debate, it’s not quite so ridiculous a proposition.

          Did I have tackles and DT’s rated higher than Tavon Austin? Sure. But that was last year. I’d have Sheldon Richardson rated higher than all the receivers in this class. But this year the depth just isn’t there at certain positions.

          In my last mock I had five offensive linemen going in the top 20 and five receivers. That’s not because I’m overrating the two positional groups. That’s just because the talent this year is focused on those two areas in an extreme way. There just aren’t many great DT’s, DB’s and DE’s in this years draft at the top end. Teams will be fighting the board in an extreme way to avoid going OL and WR in the first round when they have an existing need at the position.