Miami FL Senior
40: 4.65, 4.45e
Has good and acceleration and shows good burst to the hole. Shows speed to beat the defense to the corner. Has nice footwork, able to sidestep and juke defenders on the second level. Has some power, able to lower the shoulder and run over defensive backs at the second level and bounce off some tackles. Has decent hands. Shows some ability to line up outside in the slot and can be effective there. Straight-line speed and burst make him a factor as a kickoff returner.
Coming off a major knee injury at the end of his junior year, and certainly didn't look 100% as a senior. Tends to dance too much in the backfield as well as a return specialist. Can be tentative about contact. Doesn't have great vision between the tackles. His footwork can be choppy at times and will struggle to change direction. Doesn't have the size or power to run over NFL-level defenders.
Cooper gets points for a valiant comeback from a torn ACL in the bowl game last year, playing in 10 games as a senior. But even before the injury, he looked limited in the pros. His best asset may be his speed if he can get that back and being a special teams guy. Led Miami in rushing his first three seasons. Best year came as a sophomore with 171 carries for 841 yards (4.9 avg) and 4 touchdowns, along with 29 receptions. Returned 42 kickoffs for an average of 20.8 yards during his career. Also averaged 6.6 yards on 31 punt returns during his career.
Before his injury, Cooper looked like he had potential as a change of pace runner and third down back. He's not a great receiver, but good enough to think he can develop down the road in that role. But more than likely he was going to be a speed back that a team used on occasion, sort of in the same capacity that the Falcons have used Jerious Norwood over the years. Cooper doesn't have elite homerun speed, but had enough before his knee injury to think he could be effective in that role. How much speed he's lost remains to be seen, and his prospects on offense are dramatically reduced. He is more in line with a No. 3 runner now that is good enough to get maybe 5 carries a game on offense as a change of pace guy, but doesn't offer the upside to think he'll produce with a larger workload. His best value at the next level will be as a return threat. He's a better kickoff guy than punt guy, but he may be limited there as well, as he doesn't have the elite top-end speed or vision as kickoff guy to be a reliable option. Cooper is a guy that I think will bounce around some team's practice squads for a couple of summers, but have a hard time sticking. He's more in line with the guy that teams bring in when they have injuries, rather than the guy that they keep because they really want to develop him as a situational runner. Probably the best he can hope for is carving out a niche down the road along the lines of Aaron Stecker, and only if he proves valuable as a returner and third down specialist.
Because of the Falcons desire to bring in more speed at running back, Cooper is worth a look. He offers similar tools as Norwood, but unless he's 100% back from his knee injury, I would say he's a longshot to make the roster. He could push for a practice squad spot, but his long-term upside is limited and unlikely to stick in Atlanta because there is nothing special about him.
Cooper probably should go undrafted because he's not a strong bet to make an NFL roster. But a team looking for a speedy option as a No. 3 guy that they can develop as a special teams player might look at him in the seventh round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Scouting reports of the running backs and fullbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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