Texans' Brandin Cooks Not Trying To Replace DeAndre Hopkins

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(SportsRadio 610) -- The elephant in the room was addressed almost immediately when Brandin Cooks met with the media for the first time since being traded to the Houston Texans. 

Just a month earlier, DeAndre Hopkins had been traded from the Texans to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson and a second-round draft pick, leaving the Texans with an obvious void at No. 1 wide receiver. 

Will Fuller is an option there, but his health is typically questionable.

Then the Texans traded for Brandin Cooks from the Los Angeles Rams, a receiver with the ability to be a No. 1, but had a down year after being the leader of the group in Los Angeles' run to the Super Bowl two seasons ago.

Cooks missed two games in 2019 with concussion issues. He put up a career-low 42 catches with 583 receiving yards and his 13.9-yard average per catch was his lowest since 2015.

Cooks, however, is not viewing himself as a replacement to Hopkins. 

"As far as specifics of being brought in for a guy like DeAndre Hopkins or anything like that, I wouldn't necessarily say that," Cooks said. "You're talking about a great player that's played a lot of great football in his years as a Texan. I'm just looking at it from the standpoint to just come in and help the team win as best as I can, so that's the way that I look at it."

Cooks attributed his lack of production with the Rams last year to "a lot of nuances" within the team, but said it was not reflective of the player the Texans are getting.

Cooks is already in contact with his fellow wide receivers on the team like Will Fuller and Kenny Stills, who he played with his rookie year with the New Orleans Saints.

In team Zoom meetings online, Cooks is asking quarterback Deshaun Watson what he’s looking for, what he like to see from his receivers, what he sees from particular defenses and the way that he likes to throw the ball. 

They will have to wait before having a chance to throw and catch. 

"I guess the great thing is from the Zoom part, we're all dealing with that part. But it's pretty similar as if you were in a classroom, just you're not physically there," Cooks said. "But they do such a great job from a coaching standpoint in elaborating and sharing screens, so being able to put a voice to a face is still there, just not physically. Then from a physical standpoint, I'm working out every single day. I have a gym in my garage. The most important thing is, whenever we are able to go back, I think the biggest thing I tell guys is just be in shape and not taking this time as a time to relax or to sit back, just because you never know when we're able to get back out there as a team so you want to be ready."

Bill O'Brien has described Cooks as someone he's excited to have in the locker room -- someone who understands what it takes to win. 

"I think that Brandin brings a lot to the table," O'Brien said April 16 when he spoke to reporters ahead of the NFL Draft. "He's a tremendous route runner, he's got great speed, really good deep ball player. If you look at his yards per catch over the years, it's really high. You're talking about in the 14 to 15 range. I've been asked about concussions. Yes, he's had concussions, but he's only missed two games since 2015. All of that was taken into account when we worked with Sean McVay on the trade. I think what we have at that receiver position right now is a very diverse group of receivers. You have Will Fuller (V), who has produced in great ways when he's been healthy, he's produced a lot. You have Kenny Stills who came in here last year and did a really good job.

"Now you add Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, you've got Keke Coutee. You've got some guys there – DeAndre Carter, who we were able to bring back. You’ve got some guys there that I think will show the fans and really everybody that we have a very diverse group of wide receivers that we're really excited about being able to get to work with."

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