Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines the fluid athletic ability and fleet-footed skills of Ole Miss tight end Octavious Cooley, and 2020 NFL Draft prospect.
Octavious Cooley is a potential late-bloomer. Cooley spent much of his career on the Ole Miss depth chart behind Bills tight end Dawson Knox and Giants tight end Evan Engram. Instead of competing, Cooley was eating to the point that, by the beginning of his junior year, he tipped the scales at 290 pounds—55 pounds more than his high school weight.
He also violated team rules as a sophomore and earned a suspension. We who consume mass media are easily swayed into thinking that people are either heroes or villains.
College players are young men and most young men have some form of immature behavior. Cooley’s immaturity nearly cost him his talent.
Coaches told Cooley that if he gained another five pounds, they’d make him a tackle. A former high school receiver, this ultimatum was the wake-up call he needed. Cooley lost nearly 30 pounds and showed the promise that the Rebels expected of him after Engram left for the NFL.
Cooley statistically didn’t build on that promise in 2019 but he led all Ole Miss tight ends with 13 receptions—considering that no receiver other than Elijah Moore earned more than 20 receptions, don’t judge Cooley too harshly. Instead, judge Cooley based on what he can do on the field, which is a lot more than his box scores indicate.
Cooley is a fluid athlete with the ability to win the ball and earn yards after the catch. IF he displays the mental acumen for the game and a professional approach to becoming the best player he can, Cooley has NFL potential as a receiver.
Cooley is likely competing for a UDFA opportunity in May. Keep an eye out for his name. Buccaneer Cameron Brate, Seahawk Jacob Hollister, Texan Darren Fells, and 49er Ross Dwelley were all UDFAs during the past six years and all four have contributed at a high level when called upon.
Colley has this kind of potential because of his athletic prowess and how he translates it to catching and running the football. These aren’t traits and skills any aspiring scout should take lightly with a tight end this nimble at 265-270 pounds.
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