Cooks (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) had 128 receptions for 1,730 yards, breaking the Pac-12 records in each category set by Marqise Lee of USC in 2012. Cooks, who caught 16 touchdowns, also won the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the nation and earned numerous All-America honors, both feats accomplished by Lee the year before.
Essentially Cooks matched Lee in accolades and one-upped his production on the field. Whether Cooks can best Lee by going ahead of him in the draft -- provided Lee does forgo his senior season, as is widely expected -- could be one of the more intriguing plot points in the buildup to next May.
Both Cooks and Lee are electric with the ball in their hands and have largely run the same route tree in their respective pro-style offenses, but one NFC South scout told NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks that Cooks' superior consistency in catching the ball gives him the edge over Lee.
The more likely result is that Cooks is drafted on Day Two and leads the second tier of wide receiver prospects, selected behind the likes of Lee, Sammy Watkins of Clemson and Mike Evans of Texas A&M. But Cooks has defied expectations before, nearly doubling his receptions and more than tripling his touchdown receptions from his fine sophomore season without Markus Wheaton on the other side to occupy defenses.
Cooks outproducing Lee, injuries or not, was one of this season's biggest surprises in college football. Now Cooks will try to do it again entering the NFL.