(Editor's Note: When the Cowboys signed Jonathan Cooper back in January, Bryan Broaddus sat down and reviewed the veteran's most recent game tape. With Cooper's decision to re-sign in Dallas, now seems like a fitting time to re-publish Broaddus' report.)
College: North Carolina
Draft: 1st round in 2013, selected seventh overall by Arizona
Games Studied: 2016, with Cleveland Browns, vs. Cincinnati (twice), Buffalo, San Diego
Report: As many of you may remember, Cooper was my top-rated guard in the 2013 NFL Draft out of North Carolina.
This is an outstanding athlete with good mobility. There were questions about his strength in comparison to Chance Warmack from Alabama in the same draft. Cooper shocked the scouting community with 35 reps of 225 pounds during the NFL Combine that year. He broke his left fibula before the start of his rookie season and really was never the same player. Since then, he has bounced from Arizona to New England and Cleveland.
His game is in his mobility. He is not going to overwhelm you with his power. He gets position, balances and seals. He is a wide-based player until he has to drive block one-on-one, then his base will narrow. This is a good player when he can get on the edge. However, he will struggle when he takes his man down the middle or when he lunges.
I would not call him an explosive player. He doesn't play with much pop. He likes to get his hands inside, then work to steer the defender. It's impressive how he can overshoot his man, then circle back around him to maintain his blocking position. He's only off balance when he gets over the tops of his feet. In my film study, I only counted two plays where he was on the ground – he doesn't have terrible lateral agility, but I thought he was better in college.
As part of their scheme, the Browns had him pulling in space. He will get out on the sweep or screen. I thought he could have had better sustain when he got in position, but he didn't flop around on the outside. He can mirror and adjust as a pass protector. This is an aware player, as he is willing to help the center or tackle when uncovered.
Grass doesn't grow under his feet – he is always moving. It was surprising how well he played against Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Copper handled his quickness and power well in the game. He also did a nice job of passing off twists and stunts that the Bengals tried to throw at him. Cooper also put together a couple of nice snaps against the Chargers' Joey Bosa – thought he had some trouble sitting down on Bills defensive tackle Marcel Dareus – just too much power.
I could see this group working him at center some due to his athletic ability. This is basically a free look at a highly-thought of player that is only 26 years old.