Wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who grew up a 49ers fan in Stockton, said he’d “love to blow the top off” of defenses for his favorite team.
But after his scorching 40-yard dash time Sunday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Cooks might not be around when the 49ers pick at No. 30.
Cooks, 5-foot-93/4 and 189 pounds, led receivers with a 4.33-second run, bolstering his standing as one of the top catch-and-go receivers in the draft, someone who can put pressure on the back end of NFL secondaries, something the 49ers failed to do at wide receiver last year.
Cooks led the nation in receiving yards last year at Oregon State and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wideout.
“Cooks had a big day,” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said. “People are going to be buzzing about him. He’s something.”
Sunday’s events reinforced the notion that this is one of the deepest drafts in recent years, especially at wide receiver.
The 49ers are expected to re-sign veteran Anquan Boldin, likely to a short-term contract that pays him around $6 million annually. Still, they could add a speedy receiver or two, and several prospects stood out.
Sammy Watkins, the top-rated pass catcher in the draft, ran his 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. His tall, lanky Clemson teammate, Martavis Bryant, ran it in 4.42 seconds. LSU’s Odell Beckham, a possibility for the 49ers at the end of the first round, finished in 4.43 seconds.
Mississippi’s Donte Moncrief also stood out. The powerful receiver – he measured 6-2, 221 pounds on Friday – ran his 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds. Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, the SEC’s all-time leading receiver, had a 4.46-second 40 – not bad considering he’s 6-3, 212 pounds with 331/4-inch arms and massive, 103/8-inch hands.
Some top receivers had disappointing times. Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, who said Friday he was pushing for 4.3 seconds, ran a 4.61. LSU’s Jarvis Landry came in at 4.77 seconds on his first run and was unable to attempt a second because of a calf injury. USC’s Marqise Lee was clocked at 4.52 seconds.
The players also were tested in pass-pattern drills, shuttle runs, the broad jump and vertical jump.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr said he was eager to see how high teammate Davante Adams, a former basketball player who caught 24 of Carr’s touchdowns in 2013, would leap.
“He’ll definitely have one of, if not the best, vertical leaps,” Carr said Friday. “I’ve seen him dunk and he’s looking down through the rim. I don’t think that’s supposed to happen with how tall he is.”
Adams didn’t disappoint his quarterback.
His 391/2-inch jump was one of the best of the day. Moncrief also reached 391/2 inches. Only two receivers went higher.
Adams said he went to Fresno State because he wanted to play basketball and football. He gave up the former, but he said his hard-court skills served him well in the fall.
“It makes it really easy for me to go up and win those 50-50 balls,” he said. “I’m so used to grabbing boards and stuff like that, so it makes it kind of second nature. When the ball’s in the air, I just go up and grab it.”