Oakland Raiders 2017 NFL Draft Prospect: Cooper Kupp

Sep 3, 2016; Pullman, WA, USA; Eastern Washington Eagles wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) celebrates after a game against the against the Washington State Cougars at Martin Stadium. The Eagles won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2016; Pullman, WA, USA; Eastern Washington Eagles wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) celebrates after a game against the against the Washington State Cougars at Martin Stadium. The Eagles won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oakland Raiders are in need of an upgrade at slot wide receiver. Here is a breakdown of Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp.

The offense of the Oakland Raiders will continue to work beneath a low ceiling in 2017 without a reliable third option in the passing game. In order to break through said ceiling, the Raiders must add talent to compete at either the tight end or slot receiver position.

Veteran tight end Lee Smith is only a few ounces of athleticism away from being moved to offensive tackle, and second-year project Clive Walford has yet to prove worthy of a booth at the science fair. Also, Mychal Rivera will likely be taking his talents elsewhere this offseason via free agency, giving Oakland no choice but to seek, at the very least, added depth at tight end.

Similarly, Raiders receiver and special teams ace Andre Holmes is expected to follow Rivera out of Oakland given his pending free agent status, leaving rookie Johnny Holton and veteran Seth Roberts to compete for reps as the team’s No. 3 receiver.

Holton, an undrafted free agent in 2016, will need more time to develop before he steps in as a high-volume pass catcher in the slot. After not playing football in high school, Holton hauled in just 46 receptions in two years with the University of Cincinnati and a mere two receptions in his first year with the Silver and Black.

Roberts, on the other hand, has been fortunate enough to earn a starting spot inside the hashes after going undrafted in 2014. However, in two full seasons with the Raiders, he has brought in just 70 of 132 targets (53.03 percent) for 877 yards, 10 touchdowns and 43 first down receptions.

Additionally, Roberts has graded poorly in back-to-back seasons with Oakland, earning 53.7 and 48.3 season grades in 2015 and 2016, respectively, per Pro Football Focus.

Though it’s admirable to continue to root on a success story out of West Alabama, the Raiders can no longer afford to put all of their chips in Roberts at slot receiver. He takes the cake as Oakland’s weakest link in the passing game, essentially pushing the offense’s ceiling lower with each poorly run route or dropped pass.

With that, we break down a potential successor to Roberts in former Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp.


After walking on to FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington, Kupp quickly took the league by storm and never looked back, leaving a profound legacy in his wake.

In terms of production, no receiver stands on a higher pedestal than Kupp. He carved his name into the record books with 15 FCS, 11 Big Sky and 26 EWU records over the course of 52 career games with the Eagles. He pulled in 428 receptions for 6,464 yards and 73 touchdowns, all of which being FCS records.

Kupp was a one-man wrecking crew who demolished both opposing defenses and the box score with top-end consistency.

"“His biggest attribute is his consistency, and that he continues to find ways to produce when everybody’s eyes are on him,” EWU head coach Beau Baldwin said, per EWU’s official site.“Whenever that moment is there, he makes a play. That’s why he has such huge numbers over the years – he doesn’t miss an opportunity.”"


At 6’2”, 194 pounds, Kupp possesses above average height for the slot receiver position, similarly to Roberts, which separates him from the smaller slot receivers entering this year’s draft (i.e. Trent Taylor, Ryan Switzer, Taywan Taylor).

With his length, Kupp is able to remain physical at the line of scrimmage against press coverage and when being utilized as a run blocker. He also understands how to use his longer frame to his advantage when walling off defenders on inward cutting routes.

However, Kupp does lack the short-area quickness and burst that other shorter, quicker slot receivers have in their bag of tricks. Without elite quickness, he can struggle to create early separation on shorter routes near the line of scrimmage, but he does have deceptive top-speed that often leads to him pulling away on longer routes.

Kupp’s first and second gear won’t blow any defender away, but once he does reach fifth gear, he can scare NFL defenses.


Unlike the Raiders’ current slew of slot receivers, Kupp is a sure-handed, reliable target both in the open field and through traffic, as he rarely lets the ball hit the turf regardless of the coverage.

Here, Kupp pulls the ball into his body with one hand for the touchdown while his defender is pulling him to the ground.

A technical, deceptive route runner, Kupp has a knack for getting open immediately out of his breaks despite his lack of quickness and burst. He is able to create separation with his footwork and hand play, which bodes well for his longevity at the next level.

Kupp will sell defenders on his route with strong head fakes and appropriately timed stutter-steps. He makes each move with strategic purpose as if it were a chess match.

Here, Kupp calls checkmate after selling the deep route within the first eight yards of his route.

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Kupp will fall to Day 2 of the 2017 NFL draft because he has yet to prove he can put together similar performances against NFL-caliber players with consistency, for upwards of 90 percent of the defensive backs he faced within the FCS will never play a down at the next level. Whether he goes in the second or third round will be determined at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

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If he can run the 40-yard dash in under 4.50 seconds, Kupp won’t slide out of the second round. And, in that same regard, he will slip into the third round if he does finish in the 4.50 or 4.60-second range.

The Raiders could walk away with the steal of the draft if Kupp indeed falls to the third round, but they should not hesitate to take him off the board in the second round if he puts up admirable numbers at the combine.