Rookie wideout Brandin Cooks is no stranger to playing out of a number of spots on the field. While Cooks was playing in a pro-style offense at Oregon State, he ran a bunch of different routes, returned punts and took on some carries. That versatility is one of the reasons why the Saints took him at No. 20 overall in this month's draft and they will use him similarly.
"I think we can line him up in the slot, line him up outside," Saints head coach Sean Payton said of Cooks last week. "[He has a] very good skill set with regards to acceleration, speed, catches the ball well. And I like his toughness."
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan indicated that Cooks has made quite the first impression on him.
"I'm out here watching and it's like, 'Oooh.' This guy opens your eyes," Ryan said. ... "You can feel his speed. It's something that [late Raiders owner] Al Davis used to say. 'Can you feel his speed?' You can feel his speed."
Cooks ran a 4.33-40 at the combine, the fastest of any receiver there. I thought he was the most impressive WR at the entire event. I'm falling in love with Cooks quickly, and his involvement in a Sean Payton offense is a substantial part of that.
Drew Brees isn't exactly hurting for people to throw to, but I think it's realistic that Cooks can be his No. 3 target -- behind Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham -- this season. Kenny Stills will get some looks, too, but I expect Cooks to put up WR3-quality totals as he kicks off a very productive career.