“With the 69th-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select..... Cooper Kupp, wide receiver, Eastern Washington”. The words that had some fans thrilled, and others on the opposite end of the spectrum. Now, why is that? Well, some believe that Kupp is a complete WR who is ready to contribute day one, and others believe his weaknesses were not worth the selection, at least not at that point. Now, who is Cooper Kupp? Well, he’s a 23-year old (turning 24 in June) WR out of Eastern Washington who broke multiple receiving records and is one of the most prolific WR’s in FCS history. A lot of people didn’t want their teams to draft Kupp, and it was for these reasons: He’s a very old rookie (24), his athleticism is not good (4.6 forty, below average explosion), and he played against “inferior” competition. But, if you go to the other side, he has incredible stats, is a great character, has a high football IQ, a college graduate, and offers some of the best hands and route running ability in the draft. Let’s take a look.
Here was my scouting report on Kupp from earlier in the off-season:
Let’s take a look at some of his actual game, you know, the stuff that matters:
Kupp is lined up in the slot on this play, but look at his ability to make the catch with ease, not break stride, and turn a simple 5 yard play into something much larger.
Here’s Kupp lined up outside of the numbers 1 on 1 with a CB. He breaks down the DB and runs a fade, where he shows his terrific hands and pulls it down with one hand for a TD.
This was nothing special here, but this is where Kupp will make his money in the NFL. He runs a simple slant out of the slot, but his football IQ shows because he gets enough depth behind the LB but not too much that the Safety could close in time. He finds the perfect spot between both defenders and high points the ball from his QB.
Here’s another example of Kupp’s game that immediately translates to the NFL. Out of the slot again, Kupp freezes the defender with his nifty and quick feet, makes an inside break on the slant and gets easy yardage for a first down.
Kupp isn’t just a short yardage WR though. Look at his ability to navigate through traffic, eat space quickly on the CB, and run the corner-post up the seam with ease, securing a great grab in between 2 defenders with one draped all over him.
This is one of Kupp’s most impressive traits. All he’s doing here is running up the seam, and once he notices the zone coverage, he sits down in the open zone. It’s easy money for him and his QB on plays like this.
The last part of Kupp’s game is this. He runs his route, sits down, and is covered in-front by a defender. Kupp realizes his QB is in trouble and he improvises, finds open grass, catches the pass, and shows the ability to turn a broken play into a massive gain.
After looking at Cooper Kupp, I’m not sure he has the highest ceiling. In my opinion, he’s probably close to being relatively maxed out, but for a team that was dead last in 3rd-down conversion rate, a WR like Cooper Kupp was a terrific add. He has terrific hands, great route running ability, a very high football IQ, and has shown the ability to make contested catches as well. Kupp is instantly the Rams best WR and will be crucial to Jared Goff’s overall development, as well as the offense’s success in 2017 and beyond.