One of my favorite players in college football this season had a monster day at the NFL Combine over the weekend. That would be Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks. Cooks ran a 4.33 40, a 3.81 short shuttle, and a 10.71 60 yard shuttle. Those times were all tops among WRs who competed at the Combine this year, in what is considered by some to be the best WR class ever.
His spider chart, which compare his measurables to all WRs competing at the Combine since 1999, via mockdraftable.com:
Unlike other workout warriors, Cooks was a production machine at Oregon State. He led the nation in receiving in 2013, with ridiculous numbers:
Cooks finished just 53 yards shy of 2000 yards from scrimmage. Here's what he did on a game by game basis as a receiver:
If you'll notice, Cooks' production tailed off toward the end of the season, mainly because of the respect he began to receive from opposing defenses. Like this:
Some of Cooks' best attributes:
Outstanding ability to run after the catch:
Not afraid to make tough catches in traffic:
Good route runner:
Threat as a runner:
Returns kicks and punts:
The only knock on Cooks, which will immediately turn him off to some, is his size. Cooks is 5'10, 189.
In the Eagles' offense, Cooks could not only serve as a polished explosive receiver (particularly in the slot), he could play a version of the "TAZR" role, similar to the one De'Anthony Thomas played under Chip Kelly at Oregon. The TAZR is an athlete in Oregon’s offense who can play tailback, wide receiver, or in the slot. The position is designed to create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses, who often find themselves trying to cover a dynamic athlete with a safety or a linebacker. The TAZR can also draw some attention away from the main tailback, which in the Eagles' case is of course LeSean McCoy.
If Cooks somehow fell to the Eagles in the 2nd round (highly unlikely), he'd be a slam dunk.
How about DeMarcus Ware?
Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reported that the Cowboys might part ways with future Hall of Fame pass rusher DeMarcus Ware.
Jerry Jones said Monday evening that there’s no guarantee that defensive end DeMarcus Ware will play another season with the Dallas Cowboys.
Ware is scheduled to count $16 million against the salary cap in 2014 and the Cowboys likely can’t afford him at that price. If Ware, 31, is going to remain in Dallas his contract will need to be restructured or the amount of money will need to be reduced.
“There’s no question when you are where we are on the cap, even though we’ve had some new cap space added, and you have a defensive player that’s your highest paid defensive player, and he hasn’t been on the field much the last two years, that has to be considered,” Jones said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “You can’t have it all.”
If indeed the Cowboys cut Ware, fans of all 31 teams are going to ask, "Should we sign him? Here are 4 reasons why not:
1) He has a a lot of mileage on the odometer. As noted in Machota's piece, Ware is 31. He'll turn 32 in July, and will be entering his 10th season in the NFL in 2014. Throughout his career, Ware has only missed 3 games, and has always been a "3-down" guy. For his career, Ware has played 145 games, and started 144 of them.
2) He's in decline.
• 2011: 19.5 sacks
• 2012: 11 sacks
• 2013: 6 sacks
By comparison, Trent Cole had 8 sacks last season.
3) Ware has dealt with an assortment of nagging injuries over the last few years. Ware is an incredibly tough player, as his injuries never caused him to miss a game through his first 8 NFL seasons, but they were finally serious enough to sit him down for 3 games in 2013.
4) He's going to want a lot of money.
Who did Chip try to recruit to Oregon from this draft class?
Dave Mangels of Bleeding Green Nation researched all the players from this draft class who Chip Kelly tried to recruit at Oregon. Here's a taste:
Odell Beckham, LSU*; Isaiah Burse, Fresno State; Brandin Cooks, Oregon State; Shaq Evans, UCLA; Marqise Lee, USC.
Check out the recruits in full. This is tremendous work.
If the Eagles let Riley Cooper walk, will Nick Foles lose his "favorite receiver?"
Last week at the Combine, the Inquirer's Jeff McLane reported that the Eagles would prefer to retain Jeremy Maclin over Riley Cooper. This prompted some to worry that if Cooper were to walk in free agency, Nick Foles might be losing his "favorite receiver."
In 2012, there was an argument to be made that Jeremy Maclin was Foles' favorite receiver. Nick Foles started 6 games in 2012. In the first 3 starts, Foles targeted Maclin just 15 times, or 5 targets per games. But as Foles got more experience, Maclin became his favorite option, and it wasn't even close. In his final 3 starts, Foles targeted Maclin 36 times, or 12 per game.
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