That's it folks, the 2013 NFL Draft is almost here. With the draft just around the corner, we've decided to finish up our scouting report series on a BTB favorite. North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper would be a fantastic selection for the Dallas Cowboys. It's very rare for two offensive guards to be selected within the first 20 picks, so there is a strong chance that either Chance Warmack or Cooper will available when the Cowboys go on the clock with the 18th overall pick. My gut feeling tells me both will be gone, but then again I didn't think we would have a chance to land Morris Claiborne either.
Here is my detailed scouting report on the athletic Cooper.
Cooper is one of the most athletic guards I have ever seen. It's simply amazing to watch a man that is 6'2" and 311 pounds play the offensive guard position and move around the field as fluidly as Cooper does. An interesting tidbit is that Cooper actually weighed too much to play Pop Warner football. Cooper was always bigger than the other children he grew up with, but he wanted to be athletic and he's worked extremely hard to become the type of athletic lineman he has become today.
When Cooper is allowed to move and get into space, he makes it look easy. He possesses natural movement skills and agility. Cooper can get out and pull, then locates his man and makes a clean block. His athleticism in the open field allows him to not only block on second level, but also the third level and deep into the secondary. Cooper isn't sloppy and always finishes out the play with maximum effort.
Excellent in run blocking, Cooper is also very good in pass protection. He gets level and maintains proper leverage, but he also has the upper body strength to hold up against defensive lineman. Speed won't be a problem for him either because of his immense quickness and recovery speed. Possessing fluid hips, Cooper can swing from side-to-side and take on multiple defenders and delayed blitzes. Stamina is not a concern here and Cooper holds up late in games and will be a difference maker down the stretch.
While his athleticism is his highest selling point, Cooper does display a mean streak and a physicality to his game. His strength is underrated and Cooper is no slouch in that department. 35 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine really opened up some eyes to Cooper's strength.
The All-American and All-ACC lineman has 47 career starts and is experienced as they come. Cooper also weathered the storm at UNC and stayed out of the scandals that took place there during his college career. He's a clean prospect with no off-the-field baggage and is a high character individual.
Much like Warmack, it's very difficult to find bad tape on Cooper. He doesn't possess elite size or arm length, but his athleticism allows him to overcome that. There are some minor durability concerns and Cooper did have surgery on his injured shoulder. Upper body strength isn't a problem for Cooper, but he does need to improve his overall strength and develop more lower body strength. Time in the weight room and activity in the strength and conditioning program could help him improve in that area.
Offensive guard has been a problem for this team for a very long time. Dallas has trouble running the football behind their current personnel at guard and most of the pressure Tony Romo has faced came from the interior of the offensive line. Cooper is also a dream selection for Bill Callahan and his preference for mobile and athletic lineman.
The Cowboys have been rumored to be all in on Cooper and would love to get the opportunity to hand in their card to the commissioner with his name on it. I am really beginning to doubt whether Cooper or Warmack are going to be available for the Cowboys at 18. We've discussed trading down, but what about trading up? The Cowboys could get a tremendous bargain if they find a team who really wants to move down and acquire more picks. If the price is right, then Dallas has to consider moving up for an elite prospect who fits the zone blocking scheme they want to move towards.
Grade: First Round (6th overall)