New Orleans Saints to Expand Brandin Cooks’ Role


Oct 26, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) catches a touchdown past Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams (38) during the third quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

When an NFL team drafts a player in the first round, they ultimately have a plan for him. Such was the case in 2014 when the New Orleans Saints picked receiver Brandin Cooks No. 20 overall. Head coach Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees saw Cooks as an uncoverable chess piece.

They see him as a smaller, faster version of Percy Harvin but without the personality defects. So that was his role in an offense that had tight end Jimmy Graham, possession receiver Marques Colston and deep threat Kenny Stills. As you well know, Payton has always liked to have weapons that do well making plays in space.

Cooks got off to a great start with deep balls, swing passes, slants and end-arounds on opening day. But opposing teams caught on to the jet sweeps, slip screens, and quick slants, bringing down his yards per touch the next few weeks. Then around midseason, Payton gave him more routes down the field and Cooks looked like a star until he sustained a season-ending injury in Week 11.

If not for the injury, Cooks definitely would have went over the 1,000-yard mark in his rookie season. So the Saints didn’t have a problem trading Graham and Stills while they plan the run the ball more in 2015. With all those guys out of the way the Saints passing game will feature Cooks, Colston and Josh Hill, an up-and-coming tight end.

And Cooks, with his blazing speed, will be prominently featured in the Saints offense in 2015. Already known for that speed, running a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, Cooks believes he’ll play even faster. He told, “You know, honestly it is [possible]. Because taking the thinking out of it, some of that thinking I was doing last year can really slow you down.”

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