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Arizona Cardinals’ Jonathan Cooper Showing Progress During Training Camp

August 24th, 2013 at 6:01 AM
By Steve Smith

'University of Phoenix Stadium' photo (c) 2009, Dyanna Hyde - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Rookie guard Jonathan Cooper has had an up and down training camp so far. Most rookies do. The Arizona Cardinals' first round pick has made progress lately and that's important as the Red Birds gear up for their preseason game against the San Diego Chargers tonight at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

The University of North Carolina product will be an important cog on the offensive line that is trying to erase the memory of allowing a league-high 58 sacks last year. Let's take a look what scouts say about Cooper via nfl.com:

Strengths: Athletic guard, but with some girth in his lower body to anchor against oncoming tackles. Tough to beat in pass protection, possesses foot quickness, bend, and arm extension to mirror. Excellent mobility behind the line, regularly pulls to the left and right. Excellent at adjusting quickly to negate moving targets on the second level. Springs out of his stance to reach linebackers in the run game or to jump inside of tackles to seal off a rushing lane. Used as a personal protector on a moving pocket. Shows good hand strength, popping his defender quickly off the snap and getting inside hand position. Flashes some attitude when challenged, maintaining contact and chasing his man out of the play. Quick recovery speed to get up after a cut block. Good pad level and surge coming out of his stance. Gets vertical movement on his man on base and double blocks. Constantly works his feet and swings his hips to get position on reach blocks. Rolls his hips through contact, and works to place his body between his man and the ball carrier.

Weaknesses: Has only average height and bulk, and is a bit long-legged for the position (though he should continue to grow in an NFL strength and conditioning program). Functional strength is only adequate; stronger tackles get a bit of push against him in pass protection. Will have occasional missed assignments in pass protection.

NFL Comparison: Ben Grubbs

Bottom Line: Cooper, an extremely athletic left guard, racked up a number of all-conference awards during his four years starting, capping it off with a first-team All-American selection as a senior at North Carolina. He has the athleticism to play in a number of different schemes. Due to his ability to lead the way on runs and outstanding pass protection skills, he figured to be the first guard selected in the draft. Indeed he was.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Ben Grubbs, Football, Jonathan Cooper, NFL

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