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2016 Rams Roster Preview: WR Pharoh Cooper And The Long Shadow Of Tavon Austin

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From South Carolina to Los Angeles, WR Pharoh Cooper looks to bring his elusive playmaking ability to the west coast.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams' receiving corps have been the butt of many jokes among NFL media for years.

Going into the 2016 season with a receiving group consisting of Kenny Britt (36 catches, 681 yards, three touchdowns in 2015), Tavon Austin (52 catches, 473 yards, five TDs), Stedman Bailey (12 receptions, 182 yards, one TD), Brian Quick (10 catches, 102 yards), and Bradley Marquez (13 catches, 88 yards) was simply unacceptable. Head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead attempted to rectify this issue in the 2016 NFL Draft with two new wide receivers led by the 117th overall pick, selecting South Carolina's Pharoh Cooper.

Roster Battle

Cooper came to the Rams with the reputation of being a playmaker. Think Tavon, but a bit less explosive. Pharoh is, however, bigger than Tavon. Standing at 5-11 and weighing 203-pounds, Cooper certainly is a bigger receiver that can have an easier time excelling on intermediate routes and over the middle. This gives the former Gamecock an advantage for snaps in the slot.

His main competition is fellow rookie Nelson Spruce (roster preview), who is not too shabby either.

Expectations

It is fair to expect Cooper to be a regular in the slot for the Rams. Getting him and Austin in the slot at the same damn time will be nightmarish for opposing teams. He can create big plays. It is just the matter of offensive coordinator Rob Boras and the Rams new passing game coordinator/receivers coach Mike Groh being able to put Pharoh in the right place to blossom.

Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)

He was the a fourth-round selection in this year's draft. While there have not been many difference makers selected in the fourth round – especially on this team – Cooper has enough play-making ability to be just that. But again, if this coaching staff took three years to finally get adequate production out of Tavon (10 touchdowns in total), who is to say when they will find the right role for Cooper? Or if they will?

His rookie season will give us the first indication of what kind of answers we're going to get to those questions.