Los Angeles Rams rookie WR Cooper Kupp is arguably the most talked about third-round pick I've ever seen.
Think about how much hype there’s been for a player that no team saw as being worth a first- or second-round pick. It's not as if he slid down boards because of off-field issues or anything like that. Truly astonishing.
But here we are. The Kupp hype is real. The train has left the station.
Kupp is sitting behind veteran WRs Tavon Austin and first-year Ram Robert Woods. He's expected to handle the third receiver job and work the slot. However, it's probably not quite as edged into stone as it's believed to be.
He'll have to hold off the likes of the second-year pairing of WR Mike Thomas and WR Pharoh Cooper, and fellow rookie WR Josh Reynolds. Kupp should succeed in doing so, but if he ends up splitting a few reps with one of those guys it shouldn't come as a complete shock.
Kupp is likely looking at an primary role of intermediate route runner, a guy that will likely make his money on receptions of 8-13 yards. He possibly could develop into a security blanket of sorts, but as a rookie expectations have to be tempered.
He's making a huge jump in competition, and he's not especially quick or fast. He's not the biggest or strongest. He's simply not a great athlete.
So while his college production is something of a special viewing, he benefited from being force-fed the ball for four years, not getting hurt, and operating in a stat-friendly spread air raid system. I have no doubt in my mind WR Nelson Spruce could have had the same production had they switched teams in college.
I question if Kupp had gone to a different school and put up the average for a four-year starter, something like 2,900 yards and 21 TDs, would he have the same hype? Is his college production what has motivated such outlandish predictions?
My expectations are about what you'd expect for most rookie third-round receivers. Nothing more, but he's a good enough player to expect nothing less.
Chances of making the final roster (9/10)
Kupp is a virtual lock to make the roster.
It’s not that third-round picks are never cut as rookies — ahem...Joe Barksdale? — because it does happen. But it rarely happens.
Add in the hype and being immediately inserted with the first and second string offenses in OTAs, and Kupp is probably one of the safer players on the team, in terms of making the cut.