Not many times are fans talking about undrafted rookie wide receivers to fill out their receiver room.
But Elijah Cooks may have just broken that mold.
This week, the Jacksonville Jaguars released their official 53-man roster, and among the notable inclusions on the list was former San José State standout Cooks.
Cooks was the only undrafted rookie to make the Jaguars’ active roster.
“It was just like a big blessing,” Cooks told Jaguars.com.
While his playing time will be sparing at best, considering who is behind in the room, it is no small feat to have made the team.
Cooks played four seasons at Nevada, before playing his final year at SJSU and was an All-Mountain West Conference selection in 2022. He caught 69 passes for 1,079 yards and 10 touchdowns in his last year.
At 6-4, he is actually the tallest WR on the depth chart and beat out a number of players like Seth Williams and Kendric Pryor for the final receiver spot.
This preseason, Cooks caught seven balls for 146 yards and notably caught the eye of Jaguars’ general manager Trent Baalke.
“I think he’s a young man that just kept showing up,” Baalke said Thursday. “He comes to work every day, he’s got a great attitude. He’s obviously got the physical tools, he’s 6’4” plus his long arms. He’s got a great catch radius, and he was making plays.”
Top 5 Rookie Grades in Preseason (PFF)— uSTADIUM App (@uSTADIUM) August 28, 2023
1) #Colts TE Will Mallory - 90.2
2) #Raiders QB Aidan O’Connell - 89.5
3) #Jaguars WR Elijah Cooks - 88.4
4) #Raiders OL McClendon Curtis - 87.9
5) #Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell - 86.4
1) #Steelers EDGE Nick Herbig - 92.5
Coach Doug Pederson said Cooks likely was the sole reason the team kept seven receivers, as he and Baalke both admitted they had no set limit on the room before camp.
Ahead of Tuesday’s cuts, Cooks said he walked into the Jaguars facility with no idea if he had made the team or not.
“I kind of just walked in [Tuesday] morning and guys were letting me know, like saying congratulations to me and stuff,” Cooks said to Jaguars.com. “I’m just like, ‘That must mean I made it, you feel me?’ Then, they just let me know, because I really didn’t understand how everything worked. I just felt blessed. I called my parents and they were just so excited to hear from me. This has been a dream of mine since I was six years old. Now, I finally accomplished it.”
Now only a week separates the team from Week 1 of the 2023 season. And Cooks is going to do all in his power to help the team any way he can.
“I wanted to be on the 53-man contribute to wins,” Cooks said. “That has been my goal and now it’s just getting started. Now, I’m here to help to go win the Super Bowl.”