2015 Draft Profile: Amari Cooper

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Craftiness, Quickness, Route Running

If there’s any legitimate critique about his receiver play it’s that he occasionally runs lazy short routes when he knows the defender is playing way off of him. This may become a problem against more talented DBs and exotic coverages in the NFL which allow defenders to break on shorter routes from further away. However, he shines when faced with more directly aggressive coverage. Cooper has developed amazing release skills, something he was critiqued on before the 2014 season. He likes being the go to guy that breaks coverages and finds holes in the zone. He revels in the opportunity to beat a DB aggressively defending him and in high pressure situations. Cooper’s impressive footwork and extreme quickness easily get defenders off balance, letting him use his explosive acceleration to create separation.

In the play above against Texas A&M, Cooper shakes his defender with both a nice juke inside and a well utilized change of speed. Notice also the patience Cooper exhibits to set his defender up and get him off balance before blowing past him. Cooper’s ability to get by and create so much separation is a direct result of timing his break to exactly when the defender has committed his weight to the inside. These are the exact kinds of skill one would want from an NFL receiver that would face tough coverage on a regular basis.