2015 NFL Prospect Comparisons: Amari Cooper vs Sammy Watkins

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Nov 29, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) catches a touchdown pass in the third quarter past Auburn Tigers defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Agility and Route-Running

To me, the most important test for a receiver is the 3-cone drill because it simulates roue-running. You run full speed, stop and re-accelerate as you change directions and Cooper is better than Watkins at that. Cooper’s 3-cone drill time was 6.71 and his 20-yard shuttle time was 3.98 to 6.95 and 4.34 for Watkins.

As important as agility is of good route-running, a huge portion of it is between your ears. (the mind) Cooper runs every route full speed and knows when he has his opponents set put for a big play. He can also read coverages and knows what to do with each one so most importantly, he gets where he’s supposed to be on time for the quarterback.

That’s part of the polish all the scouts talk about along with how smooth and effortless everything looks. And because he came from the West Coast offense, where he had to run every kind of route there is to run. And every route he had called could be changed, depending on what the defense was in so really, route running goes hand in hand with pro readiness.

And at Clemson, Watkins ran the pistol with a bunch of bubble screens and verticals. So he didn’t get a chance to learn the intricacies of the pro passing game the way Cooper did at Bama.

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