Brandin Cooks plans 'immediate impact' for Saints


In a division stocked with rookie talent at the receiver position -- Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin, for starters -- Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is glad Brandin Cooks is on his side.

"I was like, 'Ooh. This guy opens your eyes,'" Ryan said of Cooks on Saturday, per The Associated Press. "You can certainly feel his speed. ... They're going to create roles to get this guy involved and it'll be awesome."

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After the Saints traded up in this month's draft to grab the former Oregon State star at No. 20 overall, Cooks figures to play a key role for an offense no longer armed with Darren Sproles in the passing game.

"He is versatile," coach Sean Payton said during the team's rookie minicamp. "He's obviously a receiver and I think we can line him up in the slot, line him up outside. He's got a very good skill set with regards to his acceleration, his speed. He catches the ball well. I like his toughness. He's handled these first three practices well."

Under Payton's watch, Cooks gives New Orleans an X-factor with 4.33 speed and a solid chance to lead this year's rookie class in receiving yardage. Last year's Biletnikoff award winner acknowledged that the Saints "wouldn't have drafted me if they didn't feel like I could come in and make an immediate impact."

Along with Evans and Benjamin, Cooks headlines a class of young pass-catchers inside the division that should keep the NFC South in a dogfight until the bitter end.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" plays the post-draft version of the game "What's More Likely" and breaks down all the latest news.