Brandin Cooks praising Cowboys teammates adds to growing expectations for young WR

Brandin Cooks has high hopes for this young Cowboys WR.
Aug 20, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (18) catches a
Aug 20, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (18) catches a / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys training camp typically generates buzz, but the excitement is palpable after they traded for Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore.

Organized team activities and minicamp pale in comparison to training camp as far as intensity and attention to detail, but Cooks and Gilmore made a strong initial impression on their new teammates and coaches.

Gilmore broke up a number of passes during red zone drills and 7-on-7s, while Cooks and Dak Prescott connected for a deep touchdown.

Plays on the field aside, Cooks' off-field habits -- stretching, workout routine, diet, etc. -- have resonated with the Cowboys other wideouts, including CeeDee Lamb. Michael Gallup and Jalen Tolbert waxed poetic about the vibe of the receiver room following Cooks' arrival.

Appearing on "NFL Total Access" on Thursday, Cooks returned the favor, and in doing so raised expectations for Tolbert ahead of year two.

Brandin Cooks is a firm believer in Cowboys WR Jalen Tolbert

""I think just going into Year 10, being able to have special receivers around me like CeeDee, M.G. (Michael Gallup) and J.T. (Jalen Tolbert), not only from a production role that I'm expecting but also from a role of being able to lead. So I think that's what I'm looking to bring. So obviously, I want to get back to winning, and however that looks, I'm willing to do it."

Cooks' words add to the mounting expectations for Tolbert in 2023. Cowboys reporters pegged Tolbert as one of the team's top performers at OTAs and minicamp. He was on the receiving end of multiple touchdowns, lined up at more than one position, and his route-running was more smooth and effective.

It's apparent Tolbert isn't in his head as much as he was last year. Who does the South Alabama product have to thank for that?

That would be Cooks, who urged Tolbert to "flush" 2022 and focus on how he can to contribute moving forward. Cooks and Tolbert have developed a close bond this offseason, with Tolbert telling Patrik Walker of the Cowboys team website that they do "all the little things" together, like eating and working out.

Throwing last season away, though, is the lesson that will stick with Tolbert.

"[Cooks has] obviously been in the league for a long time, and I was disappointed about last year," Tolbert said of Cooks. "I went through what I went through last year and he asked me about it, we talked about it and then he told me to flush it. He said he sees a lot in me, so flush [last year], have fun, continue to grow and take the [Year 2] jump."

Tolbert is behind Cooks, Lamb and Gallup in the pecking order, but the No. 4 spot is there for the taking. Based on Cooks' comments and the collective praise Tolbert has received this offseason, we're all expecting him to enjoy a bounce-back season.

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