Futures at Football Outsiders: UNC Guard, Jonathan Cooper

Explosive, agile, and purposeful, Cooper has what it takes to play in the NFL for a decade if he can stay healthy.

There was an important decision to be made at the offices of Futures this afternoon: the boss or the wife? The work boss saw Knile Davis run a 4.30-forty at Indy; calculated the Razorback’s Speed Score; saw my tweet that I’d take Jonathan Franklin over Davis 10 times out of 10; and Monday afternoon asked me to write a Futures piece that addresses my take on the fastest big back at the Combine.

Truth be told, I have mixed thoughts about Knile Davis’ prospects. In some respects his style reminds me of DeMarco Murray. His style also reminds me of Keith Byars and late-career Herschel Walker. As much as I like these two players, this isn’t a complement to Davis. I’m going to study another game and review my notes of the others before I take a final stand on the Speed Score’s latest darling.

This brings me to the boss at home. My originally scheduled player this week was Jonathan Cooper. My wife is from North Carolina. A Tar Heel through and through, she turned down a track scholarship to Florida as well as a spot on Syracuse’s vaunted women’s team to attend Chapel Hill.

The fact that I still have an office to write from tells you that Carolina won out. Read the section “But My Wife Might Be Smarter,” for a greater understanding of her Tar Heel fanaticism and uncanny skill at guessing a prospect’s state of origin by his first name.

On to Cooper, who –- compared to the flashy picks that teams with the top picks in the draft –- is this year’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich; a good, safe choice that will get the job done. Despite the fact that he has been starting since his freshman year, the 6-foot-2, 311-pound left guard still has room to get stronger.

Cooper is the total package who has the potential to work at center and, in a draft where the top end of the player pool lacks the perceived flash of recent seasons, that helps explain the speculation that the left guard might go higher in the first round than guards usually do. Even if Cooper falls to the late first or early second round, he is the type of prospect that a team in need of interior linemen will take in a heartbeat. Read the rest at Football Outsiders

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