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Cowboys countdown to kickoff: #3 Brandin Cooks

The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1. And we’re counting down to it by jersey numbers.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 3.

WR Brandin Cooks
Born: 25th September 1993 (29) - Stockton, California
College: Oregon State
Draft: 2014, Round 1, Pick 20, New Orleans Saints

2022 Stats: (Houston)
Snaps: 657
Targets: 93
Receptions: 57
Receiving Yards: 699
Yards Per Reception: 12.3
First Downs: 29
Penalties: 1

Brandin Cooks joined Oregon State in 2011 and was put into the starting lineup straight away. During his freshman year he had 31 receptions for 391 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned eight kickoffs and averaged 22.4 yards per return.

The next year he combined with Markus Wheaton to create one of the most proficient passing attacks in college. They combined for 2,395 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns making them one of the most efficient in Oregon State history. Cooks contribution was a total of 1,151 yards and five touchdowns.

In 2013, Cooks tied a single-game school record against San Diego State by catching 14 receptions. He also had nine receptions for 210 yards and three touchdowns against Utah the week previous. Cooks finished the 2013 season with 128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns, with his reception and receiving yard count breaking Pac-12 records and Oregon State’s single-season record. His 24 career touchdowns is still the most in school history. He became the second Oregon State player to win the Biletnikoff Award and was named first-team All-Pac 12 and consensus All-American.

Cowboys Outlook:
Cooks was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Saints. Cooks finished his rookie season with 53 receptions for 550 yards and three touchdowns. After only three seasons with the Saints, Cooks was on the move. He left the Saints with 215 receptions, 2,861 yards and 21 touchdowns.

In 2017, the Saints and the New England Patriots made a trade to exchange a number of draft picks and selection of players with each other. With that Cooks was on the move to the Patriots. He only played one year at New England and had 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns. He was also in the starting lineup during Super Bowl LII, where he caught a 23-yard reception in the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 2018, Cooks found himself involved in another trade that had him pack his bags to play for the L.A. Rams. He played two years for the Rams with 122 receptions, 1,787 yards and seven touchdowns. He would play in his second-straight Super Bowl against his former team. He would also lose in his second-straight Super Bowl in 2018.

In 2020, Cooks was yet again involved in another trade. This time he was traded to the Houston Texans along with a fourth-round draft pick. He played at Houston for three seasons and had 228 receptions for 2,866 yards and 15 touchdowns. At the end of 2022, Cooks left Houston to join the Dallas Cowboys.

Cooks was close to making his way to Dallas at the end of last season, but for whatever reason it never came to be. His speed and ability to get downfield quickly should make an immediate impact on this offense that was missing speed last year. At Oxnard, we’ve seen Cooks getting deep, locating the ball and winning with ease. But what’s also interesting to see is the coaches trying to use Cooks on some intermediate routes, and that’s been met with positive results. What’s also important for a player at his age with his style of play is his injury history. The good news is that’s been pretty clean for Cooks in the NFL. In his nine seasons playing, Cooks has failed to eclipse the 1,000 receiving yard mark only three times, one of those being his rookie year. There should be an expectation he should reach that benchmark on this offense as the second receiver opposite Lamb.

2023 Projected Stats:
Snaps: 820
Targets: 110
Receptions: 80
Receiving Yards: 1,104
Touchdowns: 5

The Big Question:
How many touchdowns do you predict Brandin Cooks will have this year? Comment below with your thoughts.

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