Matt Waldman’s RSP posts a pre-draft sample report on Dallas QB Cooper Rush, who has likely earned a roster spot with a great preseason.
Cooper Rush, Central Michigan (6-3, 228)
If there’s a player after the first eight on my list that I have a feeling I should have graded higher than I did, I’m betting on it being Cooper Rush. A pocket passer with refined decision-making at this stage of his career, I bet he at least creates a solid career for himself as a backup. Rush does a lot of work from center, and he’s skilled at the traditional three-, five-, and seven-step drops. He’s capable of accelerating or slowing his drop pace based on unplanned events that force an adjustment. When given the time to drop in rhythm and throw the ball off the last step of his drop with confidence, Rush has pinpoint accuracy and good touch. He doesn’t stare down his first read and he’ll find the appropriate check-down by the end of his drop before his back foot hits the ground.
Rush’s accuracy and touch are also good under pressure when he has time to set up and read the field in rhythm. He senses pressure well within the timing of his process and he’ll climb or flush from the pocket to buy time. When breaking the pocket, Rush throws with accuracy and touch on the move within the range of 20 yards. He’s a little weaker with his accuracy to the left because he doesn’t settle his feet as well. If forced to retreat from pressure, Rush delivers the ball with touch to the shallow zones. When he runs, he needs to protect himself better. At this point of his career, Rush lacks the top-end arm strength of his peers. The upper limit of his current range is between 40-45 yards and that’s with general accuracy – placement that will require the receiver to adjust to the ball. His opposite hash accuracy is 20-25 yards and also general instead of pinpoint. If Rush can add 5-10 yards to his vertical game, he’ll have more success with leading his receivers with pinpoint accuracy. A patient pocket passer, Rush waits for his receivers to reach the optimal window in zone coverage and he’ll find the hole with an accurate throw. He marries this patience with his skill for climbing the pocket with controlled steps so he can make these throws – even with pressure bearing down on him.
Rush makes good high-low reads, looks off defenders consistently to set up his targets, and he makes in-game adjustments to mistakes he makes earlier in the game. A good example was a corner fade thrown off a one-step set up against Oklahoma State that he missed. In the second half, he had better timing and hit the same route with much better placement.
His pre-snap reads could be better. Rush also misses opportunities for additional yards on second reads based on his diagnosis of pre-snap coverage alignments because he’ll opt for the lesser choice. Rush gets too aggressive with his targets in the middle of the field when pressured and places the ball where defenders have an opportunity to make a play. At the same time, he also has slight beats of hesitation on open throws, which invites pressure to him. I suspect, as Rush gains greater comfort with certain defensive looks, some of this hesitation that occurs between his identification of the open look and acting on it will subside.
The amount Rush can improve his arm strength and limit those small beats of hesitation will determine a lot of his future upside. His current skills make him a good fit on the depth chart of a West Coast Offense or a Perkins-Erhardt system that doesn’t emphasize the deep game.
Rush could be a nice fit as developmental depth for the 49ers, Texans, Browns, Bengals, and Rams. If he develops his arm, he could offer what Brad Kaaya does at a discount.
Pre-NFL Draft Fantasy Advice: Although ranked lower than players I wouldn’t draft, if Rush is drafted in the later rounds, and the depth chart is favorable for him, I might take a chance on him with my last pick in a dynasty draft with at least seven rounds.
Cooper Rush Highlights
Cooper Rush RSP Boiler Room Analysis On Processing Information
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