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Cooper Kupp still disrespected despite being the league’s top receiver

Historic season wasn’t enough for Super Bowl MVP to finish atop ESPN rankings for best wide receivers in 2022

Los Angeles Rams Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Earlier this week, ESPN released their rankings for the top players at every position across the NFL. Much to no one’s surprise, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp finished in the top-five after a breathtaking campaign.

Despite a historic 2021 season in which Kupp led the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns, LA’s megastar wideout found himself behind the Raiders’ Davante Adams in the rankings.

This is also something that shouldn’t surprise Rams fans everywhere: Cooper Kupp continues to struggle with getting the recognition he deserves.

Kupp has been facing this disrespect from the moment he entered the NFL. After a collegiate career at Eastern Washington where he engulfed his opponents in an inferno of NCAA records, Coop wasn’t viewed as one of the top receivers in his draft class based on where he went to college. Due to Eastern Washington playing at the FCS level, Kupp was never going to get the looks of a player from a bigger school in the FBS like an Alabama or Oregon for instance.

It’s often said that if you can play, they will find you. Lesser-known college football conferences typically don’t play against the strongest competition compared to the “big dogs” but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked entirely. Some of the greatest players to ever hit the gridiron have played at small schools.

Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, considered by many to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history went to Mississippi Valley State of all places. Rice is living proof that it shouldn’t matter where a player goes to school as long as they can play the game.

This is merely scratching the surface of the Cooper critiques. One offensive coach from the ESPN article believes that Kupp might be *GASP* a system player.

Being labeled a “system player” is among the worst things you could ever say to a football player after “you have been drafted by the Cleveland Browns”. Tom Brady for example is often referred to as a “system QB”. Whether or not that’s accurate is a discussion for another time. Or if you wanna have it in the comment section below, be my guest.

Here’s where this stigma surrounding the “system” label needs to be removed. All players in the NFL play in a system either offensively or defensively based on their respective position. The negativity comes from the notion that a player who benefits from the system they currently play in would be considered a “system player”.

According to this logic, Cooper Kupp would be a system player in Sean McVay’s offense. The only way to know whether he’s a byproduct or not of McVay’s scheme is if he left Los Angeles.

I wouldn’t call Kupp a “system player” or say that he solely benefits off McVay’s offense since he’s always had the talent and he finally put it all together last season. Coop would be effective anywhere he goes and luckily it’s in LA for the foreseeable future so we don’t have to worry anymore. He’ll be even better the more chemistry he builds with Matthew Stafford even if 2021 stats don’t reflect it.

As for these rankings, which are all subjective of course, how could anyone rank Cooper Kupp lower than number one after the season he just had? Adams could face a stark reality check after realizing the grass might not be all that greener on the other side.

Quite frankly, I don’t care where Kupp is placed as long as he continues to be the big game performer we all know him to be. I feel pretty confident in saying that he won’t be a one-year wonder.