Donny Avery. Keenan Burton. Brooks Foster. Mardy Gilyard. Austin Pettis. Greg Salas. Brian Quick. Chris Givens. Stedman Bailey. Tavon Austin. Bud Sasser. That’s the list of wideouts the Rams selected from 2008-2015. More recently, Pharoh Cooper has made a very big impact as a special team-er, but it remains to be seen whether that can translate into production in the offense. Looking back, it’s fair to say that over the course of the last decade the Rams have had more strike outs and singles than extra base hits.
But they may have hit a home run in 2017 when they selected Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp with the 69th overall pick in the third round of the draft. And not necessarily because of what Kupp accomplished in his rookie year — finishing second on the team with 62 receptions, and leading all Rams’ receivers with 869 yards (a figure that was second best among all rookies) — but because of how he intends on learning from his mistakes and becoming a better player in year two and beyond.
Reflecting back on a very successful rookie campaign, Kupp told LA Times’ Gary Klein he was satisfied with his play, but knows that there’s room to grow:
There were a lot of things I really wanted to change, and things that I was almost embarrassed where I was last year. You have to make strides to make sure those things are fixed coming into this year. Obviously, there are some good things that you can be proud of but never be content with.
While, at times, Kupp made the transition to the NFL look relatively simple, he also made his fair share of mistakes (dropped passes). It’s bound to happen. But, as it is in life, you learn from your mistakes in hopes of improving going forward. Kupp also told Klein that he’d take some time off after minicamp, but that when he got back to prepping for the upcoming year he’d “fix the things I didn’t think were good enough (in 2017).”
It’s evident that Kupp has the right mentality approaching year two. Truly great receivers aren’t just physically gifted. There’s a lot that goes on underneath the helmet that plays a large role in their success in the league.
As Bear Bryant once said: “When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.” Cooper Kupp gets it. And that’s a large part of the reason why he’s in for an even bigger 2018 season, and a potentially very long, successful career in the NFL.