There was no shortage of fast times when wide receivers ran the 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Sunday morning, but no one was faster than Oregon State's Brandin Cooks, who paced the field with a 4.33-second run.
“Speed kills and I feel like that’s what I’m going to bring to the game,” Cooks told reporters on Saturday, according to Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk.
With a group of wide receivers who could potentially be first- or second-round selections, Sunday's combine workouts presented an opportunity for the best among them to stand out.
Cooks certainly took advantage.
While the emphasis on 40-yard dash times is often criticized because it is not always an accurate indicator of game speed, Cooks always played fast at Oregon State.
|Height||Weight||Bench Press||40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Split*||Vert|
He will consistently be referred to as the 2014 draft's fastest wide receiver from here on out, but there's far more to his game than just speed.
Cooks' ability to make defenders miss in space with his lateral agility stood out even more at Oregon State than his downfield speed did, so he should also put up terrific times later Sunday in the 3-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle.
4.30 unofficial for Brandin Cooks. That verifies game speed.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 23, 2014
Not everyone expected Cooks to run as fast as he did Sunday morning. NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki wrote that he "lacks elite, blazing speed" in his pre-combine scouting report of the Oregon State wideout.
But his 40 time disproves that, and he's not just a combine stud; he played fast during his collegiate career as well. As Bleacher Report's Jeff Risdon explained, he is more than just a great athlete:
Equally as important as the impressive numbers Cooks put up was his strong performance running routes and catching passes in the on-field drills Sunday.
Cooks has as good of body control as any receiver in this draft. Strong hands, dealt with QB issues too— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) February 23, 2014
Cooks made himself money with his fast 40 time, and that might not only be because of the boost to his draft stock. If his mark holds up as the fastest among all combine participants who wear Adidas cleats, he will be awarded $100,000, according to Allan Brettman of OregonLive.com.
Despite being a smaller receiver, Cooks has enough physicality and attacks the ball in the air well enough to play both outside and in the slot. After his exceptional time Sunday, he just might end up being a first-round pick.
Brandin Cooks looks good in his on-field drills. Runs well and gets his hands in front of his body. Love it!— footballphds.com (@footballphds) February 23, 2014
Former Bleacher Report writer Chris Kouffman compared him to last year's No. 8 overall selection, Tavon Austin:
To make comparisons to a year ago, Watkins is a cleaner Cordarrelle Patterson and Brandin Cooks is a cleaner Tavon Austin. That's my opinion— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) February 23, 2014