Feb 23, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Carolina offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper runs the 40 yard dash during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
As we move forward to the NFL draft, the mock drafts come out fast and furious. Many of them have had the Jets taking Chance Warmack, the guard out of Alabama. Don’t get me wrong, the position is a major need, with Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore both hitting the free agent market.
We have talked here about the idea of taking a guard with the ninth pick in the draft. My resounding feeling has been that 9th overall is too high to take a guard, that you can take one later in the draft. Brandon Moore, for example, wasn’t even drafted. Today, we are going to spotlight a guard that the Jets could get after the first round, and would fill that need quite well. Spotlight on Jonathan Cooper, guard from North Carolina.
Cooper measures in at 6’3″ 310 pounds. He ran the 40 yard dash in 5.07 seconds at the Combine on Saturday. He posted the second most Bench Press reps with 35, showing the upper body strength needed to play wide receiver.
Here is some footage on Cooper from a game against Virginia Tech:
PROS: First and foremost, his footwork is simply excellent. Watch his feet, whether he is blocking on the line or pulling. They never cris-cross, or stumble on each other at all. They simple go from side to side, keep Jonathan square on the guy he is blocking. He is very fluid in the hips as well, smooth movement there to keep in his guy’s way. His upper body strength is obvious on the tape as well, he is tough to move out of the way.
CONS: There isn’t much to say here, but one thing I noticed is that sometimes, when he gets to the second level, he misses some assignments. After making the first level block, he gets into the secondary like he should, but then seems not sure whom to block at times. He will need to have a better concept of what his assignments are. He also must be careful not to get too upright too fast. A good NFL pass rusher could get under his pads and move him if he’s not careful.
Bottom line to me, is that this guy would be an excellent fit. Don’t take a guard at #9, but they should take a shot at this guy in the second or third round.