College: Louisiana Tech
Position: Strong Safety
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 211 pounds
College Stats: 117 total tackles (116 solos, 61 assisted), 11.5 for loss, four sacks, three interceptions, 10 passes defended, three fumble recoveries
Cooper was a pretty consistent contributor to Tech’s defense all four years he was with the Bulldogs. In 2014, he made the Conference USA All-Freshman team for his efforts as a limited reserve. But in 2015, Cooper became a more regular presence playing in every game off the bench as a sophomore. In 2016 and 2017, Cooper shifted into the starting strong safety position and earned All-League honorable mention his junior year and a first-team selection in 2017. All of that has scouts thinking the Marerro, Louisiana native could make an NFL roster this year.
He hits hard, which comes in handy defending both the run and the pass. Tech wasn’t afraid to bring up into the box or on blitzes and it paid off on numerous occasions. Plus, if opposing offenses decided to go over the middle in the passing game, Cooper usually was there to make them pay. Essentially, in short yardage situations, you want this guy on the field.
He’s not all that fast, which can be an issue in deep coverage situations. If he gets beat, his team is in trouble. Scouts have also expressed that there’s concern with his ability to actually wrap up on tackles. He seems so focused on making that big initial hit, that it can result in a missed tackle from being too high or his hands not being in the right place.
Who’s going to take him and where?
Cooper could potentially be a late round pick or a UDFA. Either would make sense. Oakland, Cleveland, and Tampa all need some depth at safety right now, so I’d look for one of them to try and take a stab at picking up Cooper in those areas. If I’m going with my gut, I’d have to say...
Tampa late in day three