The Redskins head to the NFL Combine on Wednesday without a first-round draft pick in their pockets. They do have their second-rounder, which is the 34th overall selection and they should be able to get a quality player who can contribute right away.
Who will they take? With all of the needs the team has there are numerous possibilities. Over the coming days we’ll take some possibilities from the Top 50 prospects list compiled by Josh Norris for our corporate cousins at Rotoworld.
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Measurables: 5-10, 186, 4.49 40 time
College highlights: Won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s outstanding receiver and was a consensus All-American as a junior in 2013. There was no “he’s not ready” talk when he came out after he caught 128 passes for 1,730 yards (most in the nation) and 16 touchdowns.
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Norris’ take: Ranked 25th—An explosive receiver that wins at every level of the field. Can take short passes for long gains after creating even more separation. Creates space on intermediate patterns. Tracks vertical passes exceptionally well. Takes the top off coverages. Has a large catch radius for someone his size.
Fit with the Redskins: It appears that the team got it right at one receiver spot with free agent acquisition Pierre Garçon. But the organization hasn’t drafted a receiver who put a 1,000-yard NFL season on his resume since they took Rod Gardner in 2001. Garçon, Cooks, and tight end Jordan Reed could form a formidable trio of targets for Robert Griffin III.
The Redskins could bypass Cooks because at 5-10 he doesn’t fit with Jay Gruden’s preference for taller wide receivers and some scouting reports have suggested that he might not be physical enough. But teams generally do line up smaller players in the slot and that could be the best NFL fit for him. Norris says that Cooks’ NFL comparison is Victor Cruz and it has been a while since the Redskins had a weapon like that.
Availability: Norris projects Cooks to go in the top 50 so he could be available at pick 34. Some others have him going late in the first round with Carolina, picking at No. 28, a popular projection. Rob Rang and Dan Brugler, both of www.NFLDraftScout.com and Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated do not have Cooks being selected in their first-round mock drafts.