Brandin Cooks’ impact on Cowboys’ WR corps goes far beyond his speed – ESPN – Dallas Cowboys Blog

Todd ArcherESPN staff writer23 June 2023 at 6:00 a.m. ET5 minutes of reading

Why Stephen A. doesn’t want Dalvin Cook on the Cowboys

Dan Orlovsky and Stephen A. Smith clash over whether Dalvin Cook can benefit the Cowboys.

FRISCO, Texas — Brandin Cooks is fast. Preferably quickly quickly.

At the 2014 NFL scouting combine, he was clocked at 4.33 seconds in the 40, the fastest receiver to run that day in Indianapolis. With the New Orleans Saints in 2016, he had a 98-yard touchdown catch against the Oakland Raiders that ran by two defenders. Drew Brees’ pass traveled 27 yards. Cooks did the rest of the work. With the New England Patriots a year later against the Raiders, he had a 64-yard touchdown catch on a go-ball from Tom Brady.

In the past five seasons, he had 16 catches of at least 40 yards and another six of at least 36 yards.

“The speed is right,” said Cowboys receivers coach Robert Prince, who coached Cooks in 2021 with the Houston Texans.

Now in his first season with the Cowboys, Cooks turns 30 in September, and he’s not about to battle his teammates to prove how quick he remains as he enters the 10th year of his career.

Some teammates believe the fastest player on the team might be wide receiver KaVontae Turpin. Some believe it could be special teams ace CJ Goodwin.

“Hey, I’m not going to speak for it,” Cooks said. “Maybe it’s Turp. You never know. Maybe it’s CJ. We won’t find out because I don’t race.”

During the recent minicamp, Cooks showed just how fast he is, slicing through the Cowboys’ secondary for a touchdown catch from Dak Prescott down the seam. Earlier, Prescott and Cooks missed a deep ball connection.

If teammates doubted he still had the speed, well…

“I mean, you really never know until you know, you know?” said cooks. “You had to taste a little bit just to say, ‘Okay, it’s still there.'”

Prescott first saw it when Cooks showed up in his backyard after the trade from the Texans for unofficial practice. He saw it through the organized team activities and minicamp.

“Real speed. Runs the same way every time. I think that’s the most important thing,” Prescott said. “When you have speed like that, for him to be able to do that every time, every route, the start of every route, cornerbacks, defense, then they don’t know what they’re getting. It all looks the same.”

Coach Mike McCarthy thought back to his days with the Kansas City Chiefs (Willie Davis) and Saints (Donte Stallworth) to think of the last time he had a receiver with Cooks’ level of speed.

“Just the ability to jump out of their shoes and get up in a corner,” McCarthy said.

With CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup in addition to Cooks, the Cowboys believe they have a receiver trio that can attack all parts of the field from different parts of the formation. McCarthy said even if the defense gives Cooks a free release outside the line of scrimmage, he will still be a downfield option for the quarterback.

“Not just the speed, but I think he’s an exceptional route runner,” McCarthy said. “He has a great understanding of routes and clocks and details of getting in and out of breaks.”

Cooks’ impact goes beyond his speed. Lamb and Gallup said they’ve picked up little tricks of the trade Cooks has mastered while totaling six 1,000-yard seasons with four different franchises.

“I’m a visual learner and I just watch him run his routes, the way he prepares, the way he practices, the way he does his job. I love every bit of it,” Lamb said. I mean, he’s a professional to a ‘T’. My coach told me it would be the best thing for me to pick him up and it is.

Said Gallup: “He tells everybody, ‘When you’re done with this, you’re done with that, make sure you stretch yourself. Make sure you do what you have to do so you can stay in the league, as long as you possibly can.’ It’s one of the biggest things right now. Football, it’s going to be there. We got in the league for a reason. But he’s over here talking about how you stay in the league.”

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer partially credited the strong offseason of second-year receiver Jalen Tolbert to Cooks’ arrival.

“What Jalen will tell you is he’s spent a lot of time with Brandin,” Schottenheimer said. “So here’s a guy who’s been there, done that, and what Brandin wants to do is encourage and invest in the younger guys so those guys spend a lot of time together. I see them before practice in the weight room where they working together. What Brandin brings to us is a lot more than just speed. Absolutely, it’s really fun to watch him run, whether it’s deep routes, short routes. It really doesn’t matter. But what I love is the competitor and the way he encourages the whole room of receivers. It’s been amazing.”

Last season, the Cowboys had two receptions by receivers of at least 50 yards — and Noah Brown and TY Hilton, who caught them, are no longer on the roster. The Cowboys had 50 passes of 20 yards or more in 2022, down from the 63 they had in 2021. Prescott averaged 7.3 yards per carry. attempts, the second-lowest rate of his career (6.8 yards in 2017).

The Cowboys believe the Cooks can change that in 2023.

“It’s one thing to run fast,” Cooks said, “but [another] to be able to play fast.”

Leave a Comment