New Orleans Saints Rookie Spotlight: Brandin Cooks
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks was the team’s first-round draft pick in the 2014 draft out of Oregon State. Cooks established himself as one of college football’s elite offensive weapons in three seasons at Oregon State, where he started 29 of 38 games and posted 226 receptions for 3,272 yards (14.5 avg.) with 24 touchdowns, also adding 61 carries for 340 yards (5.6 avg.).
He is today’s Rookie Spotlight.
So far, has your first experience of training camp been what you thought it would be or has it been more or even less?
“It’s one of those things I thought it would be. Watching film of it from last year throughout rookie minicamp, I’m kind of getting a good feel of it and it’s what I expected.”
You watched film of training camp?
“Yeah, I did actually.”
Tell us about your thoughts on your performance in the scrimmage on Saturday.
“I feel like I did alright. Some of the things I’ve got to work on, the little things. But as far as catching the ball and running routes, I feel like I did a pretty good job of that and I just need to continue to learn and build.”
What do you want to work on?
“Just my blocking and how people are going to play me and getting used to coverages that the guys at this level can disguise a little better than in college.”
How will playing with Jimmy Graham benefit you?
“Come on, that guy’s is probably going to get triple coverage every game. That lets guys like me and the other receivers be able to make plays one-on-one.”
You’ve already seen defensive backs adjust to you already in camp. Is that, in turn, helping you adjust?
“Yes. Guys like Champ (Bailey), Keenan Lewis, I can tell the difference in how they played me the first couple of days and now. That’s helping me as a player too, just because I’ve got to fix other things and work on my craft in different areas.”
You look like a guy who is not at all overwhelmed with the first training camp. Do you feel at home? Do you feel relaxed?
“I feel good. It’s football. I just come out here and have fun and do what I do best and just (try to) be a playmaker, learn from older guys, and stick around guys like Drew (Brees). I feel like I’ll be alright doing that.”
How excited are you to play in your first game Friday?
“I’m extremely excited just to have this opportunity that I dreamed of my whole life. It’s right around the corner.”
What kind of response are you getting from your teammates? They were excited for you, the way you performed Saturday.
“They’re just telling me to keep up the work, keep working hard, (and) don’t get complacent. This team is going places, and I’m going to help them and continue to work. That’s what it is.”
What has the learning process been for you with Drew Brees?
“It’s been easy being with Drew because he’s so smart, and obviously he’s a great quarterback. Watching film with him and learning just the little niches of the game and where he wants me to be on certain routes has been an easy transition.”
When you watch film with him, is it one-on-one or in a group?
“It’s more a part of the big group. He might single you out and tell you some things that you did wrong, and it’s great because it’s the whole group.”
A lot of young guys have trouble adjusting to the speed of the NFL. It seems like you have almost turned the tables and they have to catch up to you.
“Well it’s one of those things. I have to use my strengths to my advantage, and that’s my speed. As far as the speed of the game, it’s not that much different to me. But how smart people are, that’s the different part from college to the NFL. That’s where you have to work on your game.”
Do you find yourself going to the veteran receivers for advice or are they coming to you?
“I find myself going to them (for advice), and they’re going to me (for advice). Guys like (Marques) Colston,Robert Meachem, I continue to just learn from those guys because obviously I have a lot to work on and they’ve been in this game for a really long time. After every practice, I come up to them and ask them what I did wrong.”
Do you get a sense that people – whether it’s the fans, the media, or your teammates – consider you the missing piece to the offensive puzzle?
“I haven’t thought about that to be honest. I just come in and play my role.”
Is it going to be difficult to adjust to and offense that spreads the ball around so much?
“Not really, because the concepts at Oregon State are pretty similar to this offense, spreading the ball around to different receivers. It’s not going to be difficult to adjust to that, and I’m just here to help win. It doesn’t matter how many balls I get.”