Brandin Cooks is an X Factor in 2020 Drafts | Draft Sharks

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Brandin Cooks is an X Factor in 2020 Drafts

By Kevin English 7:06am EDT 6/23/20

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What You Need To Know:

  • Cooks suffered 2 concussions in 2019, brining him up to 5 documented concussions for his NFL career.
  • He missed his first 2 games since entering the league in 2014.
  • A trade to Houston provides a higher target ceiling following the departure of DeAndre Hopkins. Cooks projects as a co-#1 target alongside Will Fuller.

Disappearing act

2019 was easily Cooks’ worst season to date.

Two concussions forced a pair of missed games. Through 6 seasons, Cooks has now picked up 5 documented concussions.

It’s not like an active Cooks delivered; his production lagged for a guy who tallied 1,000+ yards in 4 straight seasons entering 2019. Cooks snagged 42 of 72 targets for 583 yards and 2 scores. He reached double digit PPR points in just 4 outings. The Rams often reduced his snap share late in the year, opting to feature more 2-TE looks.

One thing remained, though: L.A. utilized Cooks plenty on deep balls. The results simply weren’t there. While 25.4% of his targets came on deep passes, he managed just a 23.5% catch rate on such throws. The latter figure ranked 59th among 66 WRs with 10+ deep targets (per PFF).

Texans step up

After giving away DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans swung a deal for Cooks.

"I think that Brandin brings a lot to the table," HC Bill O'Brien said, via ESPN. "He's a tremendous route runner. He's got great speed. Really good deep-ball player. If you look at his yards per catch over the years, it's really high. You're talking about in the 14 to 15 [YPC] range."

Cooks joins Deshaun Watson looking to recapture some deep ball magic. Note that Watson was excellent going deep last fall. Per PFF, among 35 QBs with 20+ deep attempts, Watson ranked 5th in deep ball rate (14.9%) and 3rd in accuracy percentage (54.1%).

Will Fuller pairs with Cooks to provide the starting duo. He brings a similar downfield skill set — plus durability concerns. Fuller’s missed 20 games over the past 3 seasons. Given 3 years alongside Watson, however, we consider Fuller the 1A option to Cook’s 1B.

Randall Cobb joined the squad in free agency but projects almost exclusively in the slot. He and Cooks should handle the bulk of the 150 targets left behind by Hopkins.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

Only 27 (in September), Cooks should remain in his prime. The key is staying healthy and picking up a new offense during an unprecedented offseason.

While the WR corps looks full now, Will Fuller’s injury history provides Cooks a path to WR1-level volume. Of course, with a history of concussions, Cooks must stay healthy himself.

Projected to reach 102 targets in 15 games, Cooks should at least deliver low-end WR3 totals.

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