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NFL Draft Breakdown: Alabama’s Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, University of Alabama 


Height: 6’1″ (From Combine)
Weight: 211 lbs (From Combine)
Year: Jr

Trait Notes:
Hands – B+
Routes – A
Body Control – B+
Consistency – B
Short Area Q & A – A-
Burst – A-
Top End Speed – A-
Size – B+
Run Blocking – D+
Overall Current Grade – B 
Overall Ceiling Grade – A

Hands, Routes, Body Control and Consistency:

Amari Cooper dealt with drop issues quite frequently for a top end prospect in his first two seasons at Alabama. As a junior, Cooper appeared to be a bit more locked in and cleaned up some of those issues. Cooper displays the ability catch in all phases of the game whether it’s deep down the sidelines, crossing the middle, quick bubbles or contested 50-50 balls. When Cooper does run into a dropped pass, it tends to be a lack of concentration over a lack of hands catching. Cooper receives the ball well and doesn’t fight for it or let it get too deep into his body. When you watch Cooper it doesn’t take long to see he attacks the ball with arms fully extended which is the proper technique you want to see.

Cooper is the top route runner in this class bar-none. Cooper displays excellent footwork and acceleration in and out of breaks. Cooper creates separation throughout his route thanks to his swift hips and smooth running style. At Alabama, Cooper ran a full route tree and appears fully comfortable running the routes with zero hesitation in his steps. Cooper has excellent hip and shoulder fakes that he uses to throw off defensive backs when making his breaks and sells his double move as well as anyone in this draft. Cooper is an unfair match-up on hitch and slant’s as he quickly accelerates and rarely miss-steps. As good as Cooper is at those two routes, the double move may be his best. Cooper sells his break with a quick step to get the defender caught moving up before hitting a second gear in his acceleration up the field. Cooper possesses the top end speed and acceleration to ensure leaving the defender in the dust.

Body control is an area that Cooper could stand to use some work on. Cooper does a good job contorting and controlling his body along the sidelines and over the middle of the field when making contested catches but he rarely gets a good turn of the body to shield away defenders on contested catches. To his defense, he has made the catches regardless but against more talented NFL corners, this will be a problem if left unfixed.

Consistency is something that Cooper found in 2014 but lacked in 2012 and 2013 as a Freshman and Sophomore. The headway he made this past season may suggest that Cooper simply blossomed into the elite prospect he proved to be and that the drop and concentration issues are a thing of the passed. It could also just mean that luck fell his way a bit more than before. Regardless, he will need to keep up a high level and consistent level of play to continue being a threat at the next level. Cooper should have an instant, positive impact at the next level.

Short Area Q & A, Burst and Top End Speed:

Short Area Quickness (Q) and Agility (A) is another very positive area for Amari. Cooper will eat you up on short screens and slants. Cooper has very good change of direction and lateral agility. Cooper does a very good job of getting right up-field after making the catch and often can make the first man miss with a quick side step and acceleration post catch. Cooper displayed his quickness in the 3-cone drill as his positions top performer.

Cooper has good burst out of his breaks and out of his stance after the snap. Cooper’s Burst and quickness are what make his route running so deadly. It’s one thing to run clean routes such as Florida State’s Greene, it’s another thing to do it with the speed and agility that Cooper possesses. A great example of that burst is Cooper at the top of his double move. At the 23 second mark below you will see that burst out of his break in action.

 

Cooper is such a smooth runner that at times it may seem like he isn’t running that fast. That simply isn’t the case as Cooper has very good top end speed. Once Cooper beats his man there is rarely a moment where the defensive back will be able to catch up to him. This simple fake out move leading into a post down the middle from shows off his burst and top end speed. At the combine, Cooper solidified himself as a take the top off pass catcher with a great 40 time.

Size and Run Blocking:

Cooper has good size at 6’1 and 211 lbs. He’s an explosive player and should be able to continue into the league with his exact style of play as it translates very well. From a size and style perspective, Cooper shares very similar traits to Roddy White.

Run blocking is by far and large Cooper’s biggest area of concern. Cooper is a bit disinterested in the run game and is not a physical blocker at all. He has poor technique to go along with his poor anchoring skills. Once in the league, Cooper will have to overhaul his entire approach to run blocking.

Where Amari Cooper Struggles:

As stated earlier a bit, Cooper is not without faults. Cooper needs to shield defenders much better at the next level so he isn’t relying entirely on his hands and strength. Cooper also would serve himself well work on his blocking technique as he’s a very poor run blocker at this point in time. Going back to shielding off defenders on contested catches, Cooper simply needs to get more turned around and square his shoulders back to the pass. This allows his back to become the barrier between the defender and the ball.

Where does Amari Cooper potentially fit in with the Buccaneers?:

For starters, Amari Cooper fits with every single team in the league. Cooper is an immediate impact receiver for any team in the league. That said, The Buccaneers are not in any position to select Cooper as he should be a top 5-10 pick. Cooper is a high level route runner already with very good speed and agility. Cooper should experience a quick path to the starting line-up where he’ll eventually take over as a number one receiver for his respective team.

Overall, Cooper comes in as my number 1 prospect in the draft and lands a final grade of 8.6.

Short Term Outlook:

Immediate impact at wide receiver that can line up all over and run the full route tree.

Long Term Outlook:

Future elite receiver with All-Pro potential.

Draft Prediction:

Top 10 pick.

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