The NFL and dynasty fantasy football are all about match ups. One of those unique offensive weapons available in the 2016 NFL draft is South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper. He reminds me quite a bit of the Rams Tavon Austin with a bit more size and a little less speed when I watched a few of his college tape. After reviewing his Miami (2014), Kentucky, Missouri, and 2014-2015 highlights, it was clear to me that Cooper has enough skills and attributes to compete at the next level. Here are my thoughts:
WR-Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina 5′ 11″ 203 lbs.
Cons: The receiver doesn’t run precise routes and likes to improvise. These are great when his quarterback is scrambling on a broken play, but as in most of the time in the NFL, a wide out needs to be where the offensive coordinator and quarterback expect him to be. This type of receiver might have success with a quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger who throws to an area, but not Andrew Luck who throws at a precise location. Cooper rarely attacks the ball in the air, as the former Gamecock usually lets the ball get into his body before catching it. He has some ball security issues and tends to go down once he gets touched. In the NFL, the receiver is probably best suited to play the slot or get sent in motion to create space for him.
Pros: His versatility might be his greatest asset as he lines up in the backfield, slot, on the outside, or under center. He regularly took direct snaps and occasionally threw the ball giving defenses added concern. The former Gamecock is a good kickoff and punt returner who is very elusive in the open field by spinning and starting/stopping with great foot frequency. Cooper has excellent vision combined with amazing body control and balance that make it difficult for defenses to adjust to him. The wide out is great at bubble screens with his change of direction skills as he is a threat to score when he touches the ball. His deep ball game is also impressive as he tracks the pigskin well in the air, accelerates quickly downfield, and does a good job of running underneath deep passes, usually bucket catching near the sideline. The receiver is very competitive, has good concentration, and is a willing blocker in the run game.
Overall impressions: While Cooper is not the biggest name in his draft class, he might have a bigger role to begin his NFL career that most. His highest value will be in leagues that reward return yardage and get bonuses when playing out of position. The former Gamecock is in my top ten rookie wide receivers and could climb higher if the location is right.
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