By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects that could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:
WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Hand: 9 5/8
Arm: 30 3/4
College Career: Arguably the best receiver in Oregon State history. Won the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top receiver) in 2013 after establishing Pac-12 single-season records with 128 receptions and 1,730 receiving yards. Three-year player and two-year starter who opted to forgo his senior year. Has never missed a single game at any level, according to the Oregon State web site.
Strengths: Crisp route runner who gets himself open. Creates enough separation to avoid jump ball situations. Shifty with breakaway speed. Does his damage after the catch. Should contribute in the return game at the next level. Extremely productive and durable. Very effective on end-arounds and in the screen game. Team captain who only turns 21 in September.
Weaknesses: Lacks size, which will limit his NFL production. Faced soft coverage in the Pac-12 and needs to prove he can handle press coverage. Won’t go up and make plays. Ball will have to be thrown right to him. Limited punt/kick return work and wasn’t very effective when asked to do it.
Bears Outlook: Cooks would be one heck of a replacement for Earl Bennett as a slot receiver in Marc Trestman’s offense. He’ll get open underneath and can beat defenses over the top, which is something the Bears could use. The problem is, the Bears can’t afford to use their first round pick on him and it’s doubtful Cooks will still be there at No. 51 in the second round. However, if for some reason he was, he would be hard to pass up, despite the Bears’ plans for Marquess Wilson this season.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.