Amari Cooper was a four star recruit coming out of Miami Northwestern High School (Miami, FL) in 2012 where he played with current Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He was heavily recruited by the University of Miami, Florida State, and Ohio State, but ultimately chose the University of Alabama to play with Nick Saban. Displaying NFL ability since he joined the Crimson Tide, Cooper entered the 2015 NFL Draft and should be a first round pick this April.
College Career Overview
Cooper stepped on the field for the Crimson Tide as a freshman and never relinquished his role as the No. 1 wide receiver after Julio Jones left for the NFL. In his freshman year, Cooper broke Alabama’s freshman records for most touchdowns, receptions, and receiving yards. A toe injury slowed down Cooper’ sophomore campaign forcing him to miss two games, but he still broke another school record for the longest touchdown reception of 99 yards gainst Auburn.
After his disappointing sophomore year, the expectations for him to rebound were high. He did just that by breaking more school records for most single season receptions (124), receiving yards (1,727 yards), and touchdowns (16). Additionally, he became Alabama’s all-time leader in receptions (229), receiving yards (3,463) and receiving touchdowns (31). With big performances against Tennessee (224 yards) and two-three touchdown performances against Florida and Auburn, Cooper decided to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
|DOB||June 18, 1994||Bench (225 lb)||N/A|
|Weight||211 lbs||Broad Jump||10’0″|
|Arms||31-1/2″||20 Yard Shuttle||3.98 sec|
|Hands||10″||3 Cone Drill||6.71 sec|
|40 Yard Dash (10 yd split)||4.42 sec (1.62 sec)||60 Yard Shuttle||N/A|
Stats and Awards
|University of Alabama (2012-2014)||Heisman Trophy Finalist (2014)|
|2014 – 124 rec, 1,727 yards, 13.9 ypc, 16 TDs||Fred Biletnikoff Award – Nation’s Top WR (2014)|
|2013 – 45 receptions, 736 yards, 16.4 ypc, 4 TDs||Unamimous All-American, First Team All-SEC (2014)|
|2012 – 59 receptions, 1,000 yards, 16.9 ypc, 11 TDs||Consensus Freshman All-American and SEC All-Freshman (2012)|
- Amazing route-runner. Uses precise footwork and cuts to break-free of defenders.
- Ran full route-tree at Alabama. Best routes are slants, out-routes and post-routes.
- Lacks overall “wow” factor of elite wide receivers, but is a complete package player.
- Excellent at short- and intermediate-routes. Doesn’t have top end speed to break free on deep balls.
- Typically excels at attacking the football with outstretched hands and good technique.
- Horrible run blocker. Bad technique leading with his shoulder and watching the backfield. Usually is willing to put effort into the run blocking when he is play side, but there is a distinct effort drop off after the ball is away from him. Bad for cutback runningbacks.
- Not a reliable endzone target. Can run zig routes or out-routes to get open, but Cooper needs to turn his body more to box out defenders on fade routes.
- Good vision in gaining yards-after-catch. Excellent for west coast offenses.
Let’s take a look at his plays to discover how his abilities in the collegiate setting will translate to an NFL offense:
The most important trait a wide receiver has to have going into the NFL is the ability to catch the football. Simple on the surface, but the technique required to not only make the catch, but to be able to catch the ball in traffic with a defender draped over you while you run your route is very important in the pass-centric NFL. Throughout his collegiate career, Cooper dealt with a drops issue especially early in this career, but he seemed to have cleared that up for the most part going into his final season.
In this play, Cooper demonstrates excellent body control going up for the ball and pulling it down with his hands. I would like to see him turn his body more in the air to adjust for the ball and box out the defender, but Cooper uses his strength to pull it down.
Here Cooper attacks the ball in the air and shows he is not afraid to go over the middle to get it.
Contested catches especially in the endzone are common-place in the NFL. Here, Cooper runs a fade route and again doesn’t box out his defender, but still uses his hands to pull down the ball. He, again, needs to jump and turn more towards the ball using his back to shield the ball from the defender.
In this play, Cooper attacks the ball in the air with his hands to secure it on a quick slant route into the endzone.
Uses route running to gain separation. Fights off the pass interference by the cornerback who knows he is beaten. Cooper actually secures the ball, but as he is falling forward falls into the crotch/upper thigh region of the safety which dislodges it. Defender got really lucky here even though normally this would have been caught.
Overall, his hands seem consistent and improved from his earlier years. Over his first two years he had numerous catchable drops, but from the film I’ve seen on him he seems to have greatly improved in this department. Hopefully, this can remain the case in the NFL.
Cooper is extremeley consistent in short routes like hitch routes and slant routes. No wasted energy through extra steps are used to get open. This makes him an excellent candidate for any west-coast based offense like Kyle Shanahan’s or Jay Gruden’s.
Cooper is very shifty out of his breaks. Doesn’t take wasted steps and knows how to use different speeds to get open.
Cooper is also very adept at finding holes underneath zone coverage. A must for the hybrid defenses and variety of schemes defensive coordinators like to run. In this play, I absolutely love his head fakes and how he is shifts his body to gain separation to turn the cornerback at the top of his route.
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