Drew Brees told USA Today's Tom Pelissero a few months ago that Darren Sproles is a "once-in-a-lifetime player." Well, maybe rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks will give him second life. Brees doesn't know if Cooks can be as good as Sproles -- the rookie has been away from the team for most of OTAs due to an NCAA rule that bars players from practicing while their schools are in session -- but Brees thinks the team can be just as creative with him.
"Oh man, I've seen all the highlights, and that gets you excited," Brees said to Pelissero earlier this week. "I think [Cooks] can do a lot of things. I think he can play outside receiver. I think I he can play inside in the slot. You can hand him reverses. You can throw him screens. He can return punts.
"He's a very versatile player, very explosive player that you just want to get the ball in his hands and get it to him in space and good things will happen."
Sproles gained at least 800 yards from scrimmage during his three years in New Orleans, topping out with 1,313 yards in 2011. But those were Sproles' sixth, seventh, and eighth seasons in the pros. It's unwise to expect such production from a rookie wideout, especially on a team that already has a couple of star receivers. But that versatility in a Sean Payton-designed offense certainly makes Cooks an inviting mid-round pick. And his dynasty value is sky high.