Oct 26, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) carries 54-yards for a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Amari Cooper has been a playmaker in his time at Alabama. Bursting onto the scene as a true freshman in 2012, Cooper hit the 1,000-yard mark on just 59 receptions and he also hauled in 11 touchdowns while appearing in 14 games. In addition, Cooper surpassed 100 receiving yards five times in his freshman season.
Cooper struggled a bit as a sophomore, partially due to a nagging foot injury that kept him out of the Colorado State game and held him from being targeted a single time against Georgia State. Despite only playing in 11 games, Cooper was still able to haul in 45 passes for 736 yards, finding the end zone four times.
Vitals & Build
- 6’1”, 203 pounds (listed)
Cooper has a solid build and his listed height looks to be accurate. He has the ideal frame of an NFL wide receiver and can play either on the outside or in the slot. Cooper doesn’t have any major health concerns although a nagging foot injury held him back at times last season. He has good speed and can not only take hits, but he can also make arm tacklers miss.
Route Running, Technique
In Tuscaloosa, Cooper ran a pretty full route tree that includes short-to-intermediate crossing routes, bubble screens, quick slants, go, post, comeback, and curl routes. He performed well running the large variety of routes, although he seemed to excel on screens and crossing routes.
Cooper is technically sound. He runs smooth and crisp routes, accelerating as soon as he makes his cuts. Cooper can stem, which widens the assigned defensive back’s hips, and then he explodes up the field, creating big plays. He has good body control and does a solid job adjusting to under-thrown balls. Cooper makes a solid effort to catch the ball at the highest point, and he isn’t afraid to go up and battle for a pass that is up for grabs.
Although receivers only need to get one foot in-bounds, Cooper has shown the ability to get two feet in before going out of bounds while hauling in passes, which he will need to do consistently at the next level. He will need to work on recovering after being pressed at the line-of-scrimmage. He didn’t see much press coverage last season but, when he did (specifically against Virginia Tech), he was a bit inconsistent with his release. At times Cooper, would recover nicely to haul in a pass, but there were also times that the jam at the line of scrimmage would negatively effect his route, forcing AJ McCarron to look elsewhere.
- Here, Cooper runs a quick slant. He runs a sharp route and adjusts just enough to make the diving catch.
- On this 99-yard touchdown reception, Cooper uses a double move to widen the defensive back. After the double move, Cooper stems towards the sideline and takes off downfield, snagging the pass and breaking a flying arm tackle on his way to the end zone.
- Cooper, running a comeback route to the left sideline, uses his hands to haul in the pass and manages to get two feet in-bound. An NFL-level catch.
- Against Virginia Tech, Cooper breaks the jam at the line of scrimmage to the inside, makes the reception, and displays his agility on his way to a first down.
Cooper’s hands have been slightly inconsistent during his two college seasons. He has strong hands, which allow him to win battles on passes with defensive backs. There have been various times where a ball will hit Cooper right in the hands but he drops it while trying to complete the reception. He does have times where he will catch the ball with his body, but he also makes a strong effort to use just his hands when necessary.
- Again, Cooper runs a smooth route, stemming towards the sideline and then taking off inside when his coverage man widens his base. Once Cooper has him beat, he stops to adjust to the ball, grabs it at its highest point and takes off for a long gain.
- This is an example of Cooper dropping a pass as he tries to haul it in. He will need to work on this during the 2014 season.
After the Catch
After the catch, Cooper is extremely quick and agile. When he has room to accelerate, he does so, taking off for big gains on a frequent basis. The thing that allows him to perform so well on designed screens in his ability to move laterally to make defenders miss. He exhibits strong footwork and knows how to contort his body just enough to evade arm tacklers.
- Here, Cooper shows off his fantastic speed as he accelerates around the edge for a near touchdown on a reverse.
- Cooper shows off his terrific agility, making defenders miss and accelerating for a big gain after a reception on a screen.
Blocking is another area of Cooper’s game where he will need to become more consistent. When he makes an effort, Cooper has the ability to lock onto his man and completely take him out of the play. But there are also times where Cooper will have an opportunity to throw a big block but doesn’t make the necessary effort. This could be due to a lack of interest or him not being aware of where the ball carrier is at the time.
- Here, Cooper displays a lack of effort on throwing a block. His assignment man is able to make the tackle.
- Cooper throws an extremely physical block here and plays through the whistle against Bears first-round pick Kyle Fuller. This shows that when puts forth an effort in the running game, he can be an effective blocker.
The clips were provided by DraftBreakdown.com