Randy Moss, Malcolm Butler praise Saints WR Brandin Cooks: 'Sky's the limit'

Second-year receiver Brandin Cooks has not only impressed his teammates during training camp, but also his opponents. AP Photo/Chris Tilley

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- New Orleans Saints receiver Brandin Cooks drew praise from some New England Patriots, past and present, after two days of joint practices this week.

Former Patriots great Randy Moss, who is from West Virginia, was on hand for Thursday's practice and talked about Cooks' potential -- which he has some firsthand knowledge about. The two worked out together a little this summer in Charlotte, where Moss recently opened an academy/workout facility.

"He's a good receiver. I'm not going to call him great. But the sky's the limit," said Moss, who pointed out that Cooks should be seeing a lot more targets in New Orleans' offense now that tight end Jimmy Graham is gone -- and said Cooks looks physically ready to take on the challenge.

As I wrote recently, Cooks has dynamic speed but also impressive strength for his 5-foot-10, 189-pound frame, which allowed him to "crush" the Saints' CrossFit-inspired conditioning test at the start of training camp.

"He's in a great offense. He's got a great quarterback in Drew Brees. The sky's the limit for whatever he wants to do in this offense, and I think Sean Payton's going to put him in a position to make plays," Moss said.

Cooks, who is still just 21 years old, is expected to become New Orleans' top pass-catcher in his second NFL season. He was leading all rookies with 53 catches last year before a broken thumb ended his season in Week 11.

Cooks has had a solid camp -- including two strong days against the Patriots. He caught a TD pass in team drills on Thursday behind veteran cornerback Bradley Fletcher. And he had great back-and-forths with cornerback Malcolm Butler and safety Devin McCourty in various drills.

"Oooooh. I see a lot, man," Butler said, when ESPN's Mike Reiss asked about Cooks during a joint interview with the two young rising stars. "This is one of the fastest guys I done checked since I've been in the NFL, that's the honest truth. The guy can change his releases on the line. The guy can stop on a dime. Some people can stop, but this guy can immediately stop."