New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft believes that newly acquired WR Brandin Cooks brings an element to the offense that he’s seen just once before in his 23 years of owning the team.
“I know bringing this young man [Cooks] from New Orleans, I don't know since I've owned the team the only player that could make an impact like that at wide receiver was Randy Moss,” Kraft said Monday, via the Providence Journal. “He doesn't have his height, but it looks like he has his speed. I think that's complementary to what we have on the team and I'm excited about him joining us.”
From a physical standpoint, comparing the 5’10 Cooks to the 6’4 Moss seems like a funny comparison, but both own 4.3s 40 yard dashes and share a knack for the big play. Moss, in my opinion, is joined by former Lions WR Calvin Johnson as the biggest physical freaks ever to play the position, and there’s a vast gap between Moss and Cooks.
But that’s not to say that Cooks isn’t talented- it’s just that the Patriots haven’t invested heavily in the wide receiver position under Kraft.
The Patriots have invested just seven picks in the first two rounds of the draft at the wide receiver position, and just three in the top 40: Kevin Lee (1994, 35th), Terry Glenn (1996, 7th), and Chad Jackson (2006, 36th). Cooks was the 20th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and has lived up to and possibly exceeded his draft standing.
There are just ten Patriots wide receivers that have exceeded 2,000 receiving yards under the ownership of Robert Kraft, an incredibly arbitrary and low bar I’ve set to determine the best receivers in the Kraft-era. They are:
- Wes Welker (7,459 receiving yards)
- Troy Brown (6,344)
- Terry Glenn (4,669)
- Julian Edelman (4,540)
- Deion Branch (4,297)
- Randy Moss (3,904)
- Shawn Jefferson (3,081)
- Vincent Brisby (2,516)
- David Patten (2,513)
- David Givens (2,214)
The next player in the rankings is WR Danny Amendola (1,724), which is why I feel comfortable drawing the line at 2,000. When looking at those ten receivers, there are players that didn’t exceed 1,100 yards in a single season in their entire career, like Branch, Jefferson, Brisby, Patten, and Givens.
The other five players- Welker, Brown, Glenn, Edelman, Moss- present various degrees of athletic ability, size, and offensive fit. Welker, Brown, and Edelman were/are exceptional volume grinders, but they lacked consistent home run ability. Calling Cooks, who has averaged 1,180 yards over the past two seasons and who is just 23 years old, second to Moss in potential impact doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.