The Rams latest transaction this offseason saw the addition of wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the club’s roster.
A first-round pick in 2014, Cooks brings an explosive presence and playmaking ability. In just four seasons, the Oregon State product has already recorded 3,943 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns. He has also become known for his speed and versatility in a number of offensive schemes.
And while all of those traits are ones that can be gleaned from watching Cooks’ on tape, his skills on the field were not the only thing to attract the Rams’ coaching staff. When asked about their first impressions of the young receiver, every answer was nearly the same.
“He is a high-character guy,” said wide receivers coach Eric Yarber.
“I told Brandin — and I was honest when I told him — that if my son could grow up to be half as respected as this guy was during the vetting process, I’d be a jacked father for sure,” general manager Les Snead said.
“The thing that I think really stood out to Les, myself, and our entire organization is not what type of player he is, but the feedback we got about him as a person,” head coach Sean McVay echoed.
When he was just seven years old, Cooks lost his father to a heart attack. His mother, Andrea, was left to raise Cooks and his four brothers. Despite the adversity, Cooks never lost his determination. He went on to excel at Oregon State and was later drafted at No. 20 overall by the Saints.
“Being such a great support system for his mom when he loses his dad when he’s in first grade — he’s really just an impressive human being,” McVay said. “Everybody that’s been around him can’t say enough positive things about the consistency, the way that he works — all about the right stuff.”
As the Rams were going through the trade process, the club’s brass wanted to hear from those who had come to know Cooks over the years. They spoke highly of the receiver’s character, complimenting him as a “unique human being.”
“It’s interesting when you vet someone you talk to a lot of people who have been around him his entire life,” Snead said. “You can tell, you can just can feel … they really believe. They are passionately selling this kid.”
Looking toward the upcoming season, Snead, McVay, and Yarber are eager to learn more about their newest receiver. And all three expressed confidence that Cooks’ character would be equally as important to the team as his skill set.
“When you watch film you see elite talent, when you talk around the league about him or when people text you about him they talk about his work ethic, and with me meeting him, I see elite character,” Yarber said. “I’m a firm believer you win with character. In the first, second, and third quarter you win with talent, but in the fourth quarter you win with character and he has displayed that so far.”