Even though he had just won Super Bowl LI, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was still not satisfied with the current state of the offense. As a result, he went ahead and traded a first-round pick in exchange for then-New Orleans wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Cooks has since maintained his role as the most explosive weapon on the Patriots’ offense. He even earned high praise from Belichick for his tremendous work ethic during the coach’s press conference:
“He’s a hardworking kid, very coachable. He’s out there every day,” Belichick said. “I don’t know if he’s even missed a play. I meant at practice. I mean, he runs 60 yards down the field, comes back and gets in the huddle and runs another one. He’s got great stamina.”
Belichick already had an idea of the great player Cooks was prior to the trade, however, he admitted how impressed he was with the wideout after spending the 2017 NFL season with him.
“Yeah, he’s probably more impressive once you’re actually around him every day and you see those kind of plays strung together. I felt that that’s what he was, but it’s been impressive. It’s definitely been impressive.”
Although Cooks has had to split targets with the bevy of other pass-catchers in New England, his numbers were similar to what he enjoyed during his two breakout seasons in New Orleans. The fourth-year man out of Oregon State recorded 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns in the 2017 NFL season.
More importantly, his professional approach to the game has earned him the respect of his coaches and fellow players, which is even more impressive considering how studious the Patriots’ organization is known to be.