The Houston Texans remain on the lookout for speed, and they found a match in wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Sending a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL draft for Cooks, the Texans are banking on finding the deep ball presence that he brings to the offense.
In 2019, the Rams offense, a once high powered offensive machine, took a nosedive in production. Cooks had his worst season as a professional since his rookie season with New Orleans.
Cooks had 53 receptions for 550 yards while averaging 10.4 yards a reception and three touchdowns. Cooks had career lows in receiving yards and yards per catch plus his second-lowest yards per target at 8.1 yards.
Coming off a dismal season, the Rams pushed him out of the offense, and the Texans are attempting to help Cooks regain his form with Deshaun Watson.
Cooks at one point had four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons in a row with three different teams, the New Orleans Saints (2015-2016), New England Patriots (2017), and the Los Angeles Rams (2018).
Last season, Rams quarterback Jared Goff struggled to regain his 2018 form, and it trickled down to Cooks' production. Cooks has been a deep threat in every offense he has been part of, and Goff's struggles throwing the deep ball was evident heading to him.
Cooks Deep Ball Production (Past Five Seasons)
2019: 4 catches | 17 targets | 130 yards | 0 touchdowns (2 Drops)
2018: 11 catches | 24 targets | 370 yards | 2 touchdowns
2017: 16 catches | 36 targets | 608 yards | 3 touchdowns
2016: 11 catches | 24 targets | 544 yards | 4 touchdowns
2015: 13 catches | 32 targets | 489 yards | 6 touchdowns
Catch Percentages | Yards Per Catch | Yards per Attempt
2019: 23.5% catch | 32.5 yards per catch | 7.6 yards per attempt
2018: 45.8% catch | 14.8 yards per catch | 15.4 yards per attempt
2017: 44.4% catch | 16.9 yards per catch | 16.9 yards per attempt
2016: 45.8% catch | 49.5 yards per catch| 22.7 yards per attempt
2015: 40.6% catch | 37.6 yards per catch| 15.3 yards per attempt
Cooks has been one of the few players that can say they have played with top-flight quarterbacks in the Saints Drew Brees and former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. His deep ball production from 2015-2017 shows his ability to hit the big plays against defenses.
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2018 was another prosperous season for Cooks, and Goff was playing at an elite level that took them to the Super Bowl. Cooks in 2018 had one of his most productive seasons in the NFL catching 80 passes for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns.
The will Texans depend on Watson to bring out Cooks' big-play ability with his deep ball presence. Watson ranked in the top five in the NFL when attacking 20-plus yards downfield.
It will be a considerable change for Cooks compared to Goff in 2019.
Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff Deep Passing from 2019
*on passes 20-plus yards
Jared Goff Deep Ball Stats
17-of-56 for 544 yards (T-23rd) 1 TD (T-32nd) and 4 interceptions
8.9% deep ball attempt rate (33rd) | 30.3% completion rate
32.0 yards per completion | 9.71 yards per attempt
Deshaun Watson Deep Ball Stats
33-of-74 for 1,111 yards (5th of 36) 11 TD (T-2nd), 5 interceptions
14.9% deep ball attempt rate (5th) | 44.6% completion rate
33.7 yards per completion | 15.0 yards per attempt
Cooks is arriving at the Texans with a quarterback in Watson that fits both of their strengths. Watson is one of the best deep-ball throwers in the NFL has the numbers to back it up and Cooks is an added weapon to that skill set.
Now it is up to Watson, and the Texans offensive scheme to bring out the player Cooks has shown as a vertical threat in his career.
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