I have in the last two weeks made YouTube videos covering Free Agency with some success. I have analyzed players previous production and compared it to how their new team plays to find out if there are synergies or a bad fit. You can find the videos here! In these videos I discuss Romo, Marshall, Jeffery, Pryor and Jackson. I will do similar analysis of Brandin Cooks in this post.
I am going to present where on the field and how Cooks gain most of his yards, where he’s most productive and how well he fits with the Patriots. Let’s dig in!
I always split the field into 6 zones when analyzing a player like this. Three short zones and three deep. The short zones are from the line of scrimmage 10 yards down the field and then split it using the hash-marks. The deep zones are 10 yards from the line of scrimmage and beyond. After that it is pretty easy to identify where a player performs the best.
Everything over 70 % catch rate is a good zone and anything under 50 % is not good for the shorter ones and everything over 40 % is good in the deeper ones and under 20 % is terrible.
So Cooks catch rates are very good almost everywhere. When he is targeted he will at least catch the ball. His best zone is the short left one which is pretty uncommon with right-handed quarterback, they usually have a little bitter % when throwing to the short right zone. I am excited with his catch rate in the deeper zones, I think it will be useful for the Patriots.
Cooks has averaged around 105 targets per year since entering the league. This is due to his first year where he only had 69 targets, if we don’t account for it he will average 123. If we look at all of his targets since entering the league he has mostly been targeted in the short left then right zones. Just that knowledge is not that useful on its own, but in connection with the Yards % to the right it becomes a lot more interesting. The short right is his by far least productive zone, with 27 % of all targets but only 16 % of his yards. The short left could see a little less love while all deep zones should see a little more targets. Next on let’s put this in relation to the Patriots!
These are the Patriots passing trends from the last three years. They love the short left zone! It is not as much dinking and dunking that I would have thought, 15 % of the throws are longer than 10 yards. Compare that to the Saints, who I view as a deep throwing team only targets the three deep ones 14 % of their pass plays. The Patriots targets are pretty comparable to the Saints.
When it comes to targeting the top three wide receivers the Patriots have a great imbalance. When Gronk is injured the WR1 gets targeted a lot more than the other two. In the Saints Cooks had the second most targets last year, with five less than Thomas and 13 more than Snead. By that logic, if Gronk does not play the entire season and Cooks become the WR1 in New England his targets will most likely increase. If he is viewed as the second or third guy he will most likely lose targets.
As I said above, if he is viewed as WR1 he can potentially see around 127 targets next year. Most of them will probably be in the short left zone if the Patriots follow their three-year trend. What makes me higher on Cooks than I was before doing this research is the right picture. Brady only throws 3 % of his Touchdowns to the deep left zone, his most targeted deep zone. That zone is Cooks’ best deep zone, I think both Brady’s and Cook’s numbers in that zone will increase and work well together. I also think Cook’s will see some more red zone targets. He got 11 last year, I think he might see up to 15 in New England.
All in all I think Cooks will do well in New England. I think he will see some more targets and some more touchdowns. It will not be a massive improvement and a lot has to do with Gronk’s health and if he’s the number one guy instead of Edelman. I will usually don’t move players in my rankings unless their numbers suggest I should but I like to add asterisk’s to them when something is out of the norm. Cooks will see an asterisk next to his name this year.
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I will be posting 30-16 Running Back rankings on Thursday and a new YouTube Video on Friday “Romo as a Bronco” unless he signs somewhere else before that.
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The spreadsheets are dark and full of terror // CSD