Confidence growing for rookie Brandin Cooks _lowres

Advocate Staff Photo by ELIOT KAMINETZ -- Brandin Cooks scores a second quarter touchdown during the Saints vs 49ers game at the Superdome on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — Brandin Cooks scoffed a little bit. His frustration was obvious. Someone had just called him a “smaller receiver” and he didn’t like it.

He obviously disagreed. At 5-foot-10, the label doesn’t seem unfair. But Cooks doesn’t believe anything is small about his game. He does everything he’s supposed to do on the field. Why should his height be an issue?

“It’s one of those things that they say, ‘He’s not your prototype receiver,'” Cooks said. “But what is your prototype of a person who can catch the ball, run good routes, has speed? I guess the tall part is the part that I’m missing. But I feel like I’m doing those other things at a high level.”

Cooks went on to say he believes his height is an advantage.

“I use my speed, my quickness, using the way I move to change direction and get those bigger corners on their heels,” Cooks said. “Whatever the case may be, I’m using my height as an advantage, not a disadvantage.”

One area where Cooks’ size was a disadvantage last year was his ability to gain yards after the catch. One of his chief goals this offseason was to find ways to improve upon the 3.2 yards after catch per reception he averaged last season.

One way of going about that was strengthening his lower half. The other part was improving in the mental aspects of the game.

“Knowing what type of defense they’re in, where you need to hit that hole,” Cooks said. “It’s situations like that. It’s more of an intelligence thing.”