Brandin Cooks is not the No. 1 prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft. He’s not even regarded as the top player at his position.
Nevertheless, Cooks may be the most sure-fire, can’t-miss prospect in this talent-rich draft.
The top of the draft is loaded with players who possess elite skill and tremendous potential, but none of them escape concerns related to their performance, character or medical history. Does Jadeveon Clowney possess the work ethic to maximize his once-in-a-generation talent? (He does.) Can Johnny Manziel develop into an effective NFL quarterback? (He might.)
Questions even surround the top two wide receiver prospects, Sammy Watkins (size) and Mike Evans (maturity), both of whom are projected as top-10 picks. (See how Watkins is refining his wide receiver skills for the next level.)
What you see is what you get with Cooks, who won the Biletnikoff Award as the most outstanding wide receiver in college football last season. As a junior at Oregon State, he broke Pac-12 single-season records with 128 receptions and 1,730 receiving yards.
Cooks was also the star of the pre-draft process, parlaying his record-breaking season with a dynamic performance at the NFL Combine, which sent his draft stock skyrocketing toward the first round.
Medical concerns? Cooks hasn’t missed a game throughout his high school and collegiate careers.
This isn’t to say Cooks should land in the top 10. But a wide receiver-needy team owning a mid- to late-first-round pick will find tremendous value in the dynamic Cooks.
He says, “Check the stats and the production. Now it’s all about going to prove it. That’s my mentality. I’m thinking that I’m the best receiver in this draft. Come stop me.”