Oct 19, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Brandin Cooks (7) runs with the ball against the California Golden Bears during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers Draft Prospect: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

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Brandin Cooks is a wide receiver built in the mold of Steve Smith.  He’s small, incredibly fast and even tougher.  Cooks has never missed a game in his collegiate career.  He has even stated he wants to be the next Steve Smith.  Bold words from such a tiny package.  The Panthers desperately need a large receiver to be a red zone threat, but a guy like Cooks could be the eventual replacement for Steve Smith.

Cooks dazzled scouts at the combine.  He posted a 4.33 forty yard dash and a 36″ vertical leap.  His massive vertical will allow him to compete for jump balls even though he will be smaller than most defenders.  Cooks also fielded Oregon State’s returns showing he has agility and play making ability in space.  Cooks won the Biletnikoff award in 2013, an honor given to college football’s wide receiver.  His 2013 campaign saw Cooks setting Pac-12 records for receptions (128) and yards (1,730).  The more I read up on this guy, the more I want him on the Panthers.  He shows tremendous character, poise, and playmaking ability.  Studying under the great Steve Smith would do wonders for his development in his rookie season.

The obvious knock on Cooks is his size.  He is only 5’10” and 189 pounds.  The Panthers need for a tall receiver to operate in the red zone was apparent in their last few games of the 2013 season.  Obviously strength is an issue against bigger corners, but an NFL training program can put him in better shape and perhaps help him get even faster.  Cooks has been compared to Tavon Austin and could be an instant weapon for an offense that lacks playmakers.  Cam Newton would be more than happy to have this guy to throw to.

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