METAIRIE, La. -- The pick: WR Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
My take: I love the pick for the New Orleans Saints, who filled their biggest need for both the short term and long term with a dynamic playmaker. Cooks, a small but speedy receiver at 5-foot-10, 189 pounds, can help fill the void left by Darren Sproles and Lance Moore out of the slot or wherever creative coach Sean Payton wants to move him around the field. Cooks caught a whopping 128 passes for 1,730 yards last year to earn the Biletnikoff Award.
Saints stay aggressive: I projected this trade for the Saints because it falls in line with their aggressive history under general manager Mickey Loomis and Payton. This is now the fifth time the Saints have traded up in the first round during Loomis’ tenure, dating back to 2003. And they also made a bold move to sign Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd in free agency. Loomis talked earlier this week about why he feels it’s worth trading up for players when you have a strong conviction on them. And the cost to move up from No. 27 was palatable -- this year’s third-round pick (No. 91 overall).
What’s next: The Saints now have just one pick on Friday since they traded away the third-rounder. Cornerback, center and pass-rushers rank among their top needs. But they’ll take the best available player off their board without reaching to fill any of those needs. Beginning in the second round, it’s unrealistic to address the 2014 needs since guys could take longer to develop. They can probably scratch receiver off the wish list, though.