After a few days ago when he benched 35 reps of 225 pounds, which Walterfootball notes is the second best mark of this year’s guard class, Jonathan Cooper likely got himself noticed by the Dallas Cowboys. He started as a second round prospect (he was there in my first mock draft), but his workouts, coupled with the surge of Chance Warmack, have made him into a solid first-rounder. In other words, Cooper is a legitimate option for the Dallas Cowboys at 18. I haven’t been able to watch him, but others have, and what I give you is basically paraphrased from other sites and video. All of them will be cited, of course, but don’t think of this as an article. In reality it’s reference material, so instead of looking all over the web for your favorite prospect, you can come here and everything is together. Jonathan Cooper is the first subject.
Cooper is no doubt an athlete, and he would be more effective in a zone-blocking scheme so his athleticism can make more of an impact. He can get to the second level. His recent bench press fixes what was a minor deficiency of his-his strength. He also plays against elite talent, both in the ACC and on the practice fields. He has started all four years at UNC.
*Note: An awesome source of information. Their scouting reports are top-tier.
He is more athletic than most guards, but he also has short arms (33 inches), so despite his athleticism he must stay at guard. (Tyron Smith has 36 3/8 inch arms, for comparison.) He fits more in line with recent Cowboys lineman, in that he is athletic but not terribly strong off the line, but hopefully his bench press shows that he has fixed this flaw. He is quick off the line and blocks well in space, so he can help run block in the second level, but he cut blocks more often than usual, meaning, in the words of NE Patriots Draft, he “doesn’t get far enough into the defender’s base.” In terms of pass blocking, intangibles in technique, they have no negatives. Not a one. They laud his “excellent leverage”, “quick feet”, and “punishing punch” when he pass blocks. They also note his “wide and balanced base” and sound footwork.
Erick Ward/ESPN Insider:
Using information from ESPN Insider’s Jonathan Cooper scouting report, he made a convenient scouting video. Basically, it ways what the other two sources said, that he is good in pass blocking, really good at the second level, and not particularly strong. They also went into more depth regarding which strategies he struggles with. They showed his difficulties against bull rushers and “pull-push moves.” Seeing as our nominal offensive coordinator Bill Callahan’s specialty is offensive line, hopefully he could help him out in that regard.
The Cowboys really struggled running the ball the entire season. With Demarco Murray out, they never surpassed 100 yards rushing as a team, and a few times could not crack 50. With that in mind, drafting a lineman who isn’t amazing in run blocking may not be ideal. Still, Jonathan Cooper bulked up to 311 pounds, and I imagine that will go a longh way in remedying the issue. His abilities in pass blocking can only help a team that employs both Mackenzie Bernadeau and Nate Livings, but he has one other flaw. His freshman year he suffered an ankle injury and had to miss a quarter-season, and in 2011 he injured one of his shoulders in the spring. While neither of the injuries caused him to miss significant time, he hasn’t been a perfect bill of health either. Expecting a lineman, who plays the most physical position in the game, to stay injury-free isn’t realistic, but on a team in win-now mode with a serious injury bug the last two years, I wonder if those problems would drop him at all. I doubt it, and if I made a board I wouldn’t worry about it. All in all he is just the second-best guard prospect in the draft, which in an unusually strong guard class is still an excellent find.