Brandin Cooks is already earning high praise from Bill Belichick
Fred Kfoury III / Icon Sportswire
There's are plenty of reasons the Patriots gave up their first- and third-round picks in this year's draft to snag Brandin Cooks. But in addition to the obvious ones--his ridiculous speed and prolific production--the former New Orleans Saint has shown a knack for picking up the complicated Pats playbook, and is already making a positive impression on Bill Belichick.
The head coach praised his new receiver on Wednesday regarding his learning ability and performance through OTAs and minicamp so far. Per The Oregonian:
"Brandin's worked hard. Definitely, he has some skill. [It's] a transition for him. He's working hard to make it. Again, we'll see how it goes when we get into a more competitive situation, but he learns well. It looks like he's been able to do some multiple things, but see how all of that transfers in training camp."
As far as Belichick quotes go, that's very high praise. And so far, Cooks has done nothing but live up to it. He's clearly established a rapport with QB Tom Brady: the pair connected for a 50-yard TD bomb in minicamp, and ESPN beat reporter Mike Reiss has already likened the relationship to Brady-Deion Branch 2.0. Now, as Belichick said, it's still June. We won't be able to draw real conclusions until real competitive work begins in training camp. But even at this early stage, it's clear Cooks has made an impact on his new teammates and coaches.
If, as Reiss suggested, the connection blossoms, opposing defenses will be rendered almost helpless against New England's offense. With Cooks and Chris Hogan working outside the numbers and Rob Gronkowski drawing attention over the middle, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will be almost constantly free underneath--otherwise of the deep threats will be open over the top. Add Dwayne Allen, Malcolm Mitchell, and the Pats' hefty stable of running backs to the mix, and there's almost no conceivable way to stifle the aerial assault.
That kind of dilemma is exactly why Belichick sacrificed so much to bring Cooks to Boston. If he continues to garner this kind of praise, he'll certainly be an integral part of the attack this coming year and beyond.