Top Saints to watch at training camp: No. 1, Brandin Cooks
Electrifying, entertaining, and efficient are just some of the words you could use to describe New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks, and he’s our top player to watch during training camp.
As reporting day is upon us for the team, we take one last look at the most exciting players to watch prior to training camp sessions starting. While Cooks is my top pick, let’s revisit the previous entries from the past two weeks. Keep in mind, I based this list off of impact, growth, and overall expectations, and not a popularity contest.
- No. 2, Andrus Peat
- No. 3, Michael Thomas
- No. 4, Jairus Byrd
- No. 5, Nick Fairley
- No. 6, Erik Harris
- No. 7, Coby Fleener
- No. 8, Keenan Lewis
- No. 9, David Onyemata
- No. 10, Garrett Grayson
Although Brandin Cooks‘ 2015 season didn’t start off on the right foot, it sure quickly accelerated and escalated into something special for the former Oregon State Beaver and Saints’ 20th overall pick in the 2014 draft. He led all Saints wide outs with nearly 83 percent of offensive snaps played, appearing in 981 plays.
Through the first four games, Cooks put together 20 receptions for 215 yards. However, he failed to find the end zone. After a strong outing against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road (5-107-TD), Cooks would stay relatively quiet the next two contests (10-122), and Week 8 against the New York Giants is when he’d catch fire and continue to put together some strong games.
The result of last season was having Drew Brees rapidly developing chemistry with the young wide receiver, and it led to 84 receptions, 1,138 yards, and 9 touchdowns for Cooks. As hard as it to believe, he became the first Saints wide receiver to have a 1,000-yard season since 2012.
Turning just 23 in September, Cooks looks to lead the Saints wide receiving corps. The ceiling for him is an unknown, as he could easily outperform 2015. However, some caution is there on what to realistically expect, as the team has other options like Willie Snead, Coby Fleener, C.J. Spiller, and rookie Michael Thomas that could cut into his production.
Regardless of what ultimately happens, the only thing that matters to Cooks and company is changing the result of the past two seasons, which has seen the Saints finish with back-to-back 7-9 records. Cooks will have a huge hand in helping the Saints offense turn in another top-performing unit.