The first-round rookie has been stealing the show with his dynamic playmaking ability since camp opened. After his six-catch performance on Saturday, Cooks picked up a trail of admirers.
Linebacker Curtis Lofton compared Cooks' catch-and-run ability to a rocket shot, adding "I'm glad he's my teammate."
"He's zero to sixty. Real fast. ... When he gets the ball in his hands, he's dangerous," Hawthorne said. "A bunch of people were saying, 'I hope I don't have to cover the guy.' The people who were covering him were saying, 'Bring me a little help.' He's a great young player, he will do well."
Nick Toon, a 2012 fourth-round pick, finally seems poised to recognize his potential as a crisp route runner with good size and sure hands.
Don't forget about deep threat Kenny Stills, who returned from a quadriceps injury to participate in Friday's walkthrough.
The best passer rating when aiming at a single wide receiver last season belonged to Brees, boasting a 139.3 mark on throws in Stills' direction.
Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are the only three quarterbacks to post at least 45 touchdowns, 4,500 yards and a 115.0 passer rating en route to the Most Valuable Player Award. With three promising young receivers joining the veteran duo of Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston, Brees is primed to join that exclusive club in 2014.