If the Jets aren't careful, Brandin Cooks believes they could lose out.
In recent weeks, the former Oregon State star wide receiver has been linked to the Jets in several mock drafts. But Cooks isn't so sure he'll still be available Thursday night if general manager John Idzik sticks with the 18th overall pick.
Cooks, the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's best receiver, said he's been getting the sense from teams that he could go in the top 15. And that, he said, means the Jets may not get him if they're not willing to move up.
"Of course . . . that's a definite possibility,'' Cooks said yesterday of not lasting until the 18th pick. "That's why I say it's not safe to say [the Jets] won't have to move up."
There's been increasing talk that the Jets may move up -- but not for Cooks. Instead, the organization might have its eye on fellow wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans.
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said he loves Beckham, a standout at LSU, and would understand if the Jets felt the need to trade up to snag him.
"But I think Cooks can be there [at 18],'' Mayock said. "I think Cooks is in the same category as Beckham. In this particular draft, I would hate to give up picks to move up.''
Cooks, of course, disagrees.
"I don't pay attention [to NFL pundits], but as far as the Jets don't need to move up, I don't think that's a safe thing to say,'' Cooks said. "Having conversations with other teams, we'll see how we go about that. But everyone around here has their own opinion.''
At barely 5-10 and 189 pounds, Cook's slight frame can get lost among a sea of giants in this draft class. But his lack of size has done little to shake his confidence.
"We had talks, yes,'' Cooks said of the Jets. "And I know how interested they are. But as far as whether I'm going to say it on camera, that's not for me to say. I'll keep that between my agent and I and the New York Jets.''
Cooks said he'll be happy to play for any NFL team. But the Jets, and Marty Mornhinweg's offense, clearly have piqued his interest. When asked to describe why he believes he'll be a good fit in Florham Park, Cooks said, "Speed. Speed.
"It seems like they're just adding speed to the offense: Chris Johnson, Michael Vick. You've got Jeremy Kerley, Eric Decker as the big guy. So I feel like, for me, that would be a great fit.''
With needs at several positions, particularly receiver, cornerback and tight end, the Jets have their eyes on quite a few prospects and have been keeping in touch with them.
Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert said the Jets were "one of the few teams that told me if I was there when they picked, they were going to get me.''
Beckham said it's anyone's guess where he'll end up. But he did express interest in joining the Jets, who run a similar system to the one he was in at LSU. Also, former Tigers assistant coach Thomas McGaughey is the Jets' new special teams coordinator.
Asked about the prospect of catching passes from Geno Smith or Michael Vick, USC receiver Marqise Lee smiled widely and said, "That's legit. Can't complain about that.''