As I am sure you all know, Julian Edelman suffered a torn ACL during a pre-season game, keeping him out for the rest of the 2017-2018 season.
Obviously this takes a huge hit to not only the receiving core, but also the locker room. Although the loss of Edelman is extremely disappointing news, the Patriots have depth at the Wide Receiver position.
After the injury, it’s rather expected that people look to notable acquisition Brandin Cooks to “step up” as a top target for the team. Can he improve off of his previous year? Let’s take a look.
Brandin Cooks is a 5’10” 185 lbs Wide Receiver who ran a 4.33 40 yard dash, so yeah… he’s pretty fast. Although his height may hinder his ability to get up and over defenders, he is an absolute “burner”.
His speed is what makes him a serious threat as an outside receiver. Throughout his three years in the league, he has posted a total of 304 targets, 215 catches, 2,863 yards, and 20 receiving touchdowns. Cooks has been improving each and every year of his career, will he slow down this year? How will he fit with the Patriots’ offense?
HOW WILL HE INDIRECTLY EFFECT THE OFFENSE:
The Patriots’ offense has yet to have an outside receiver since Randy Moss left, and I expect the effect of having one to be severely significant. How does an outside threat effect the Offense in a good way?
Well think about it this way. As a Defensive coordinator, one main goal is to avoid any “big plays”.
Therefore when facing the Patriots new deep threat, who has recorded eight 40+ yard touchdowns, the D will more often than not play a few yards back. Given that the D will “back off”, what does that do for the offense?
If you are a Patriots’ fan, or even a hater, you all know that they love their short routes. With the defense spread out, this opens up the field for exactly what the Patriots love to do, making it that much easier to execute their offense perfectly (or pretty damn close to it).
HOW HE WILL DIRECTLY EFFECT THE OFFENSE:
As I have said before, Brady has not had an outside receiver since Randy Moss, but one thing I left out would indeed be the season those two had together. As we all know, they both posted single season records for touchdowns (Brady’s was broken by Peyton Manning).
It is obvious that Brandin Cooks is not Moss, but Cooks is just as fast if not faster than Randy, and he has great hands. The Brady-Cooks connection could be a serious problem for opposing defenses, as if Cooks gets an open lane, he may very well be going “ALL THE WAY”, and if he can get behind the corner and the safety… well you know what would happen.
After reading pro football focuses 2017-2018 stat predictions, I would say they are rather accurate. They predicted he gets 113 targets, for 79 receptions, posting 1024 yards, with 7 touchdowns.
I don’t expect Cooks to have more than 1,100 receiving yards, as the Patriots offense is too spread out for one man to rack up that many. I do expect his touchdowns to be around 7-10, and I also expect his receptions to be just where PFF has them.
Cooks in my opinion will get the same amount of looks as Edelman usually does, but what is intriguing about Cooks is what he does after the catch (if there’s any room to run). Overall I expect Cooks to better his game, as well helping the offense improve immensely.