2013 Draft Prospect Profile: Jonathan Cooper

Welcome to our 2013 Draft Prospect Profile series, written by Rob Quinn. Rob is putting together quick, digestible summaries for highly publicized discussed prospects, prospects that interest him, and prospects that interest YOU.

If there’s someone out there who has piqued your interest and you want to know a little but more about him before April rolls around, get at Rob and request he put a profile together. You can email him at RQUINN619@billsmafia.com with a request.

The series isn’t Bills-centric necessarily; however, when the occasion calls for it, Rob will include thoughts on how a player might impact the Bills were they to draft him. But overall, the goal is to educate you on some of the names you’ll hear called in April.

Jonathan Cooper: G, UNC (Photo courtesy ACC Blogs)
Jonathan Cooper: G, UNC (Photo courtesy ACC Blogs)

Jonathan Cooper
6’3” 295 lbs.
North Carolina Tarheels
@TheUnderdog_64 (Unverified)

Jonathan Cooper is currently ranked as the No. 2 offensive guard prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft, trailing only Alabama’s Chance Warmack. However, I believe that Cooper is the better overall lineman than Warmack. Cooper’s blend of size and athleticism makes him more scheme-versatile than Warmack, who is strictly a “mauler”. Cooper is a four-year starter for the North Carolina Tarheels, and it’s no coincidence that the rushing offense has improved each year he’s played. The Tarheels have averaged 1,873 yards and 20.5 touchdowns, while averaging 4.1 yards-per-carry while Cooper’s been starting.

The Good

Jonathan Cooper is the most athletic guard in the 2013 NFL Draft. He’s explosive off the line of scrimmage, and his foot quickness is second-to-none. He delivers a solid punch when engaging with defensive lineman, and rarely allows pressure in the pocket. Bull-rushes don’t faze him, and he holds his own in one-on-one protection. Cooper is quick, mobile, and agile, which makes him one of the more attractive guards in this year’s class. He can pull well, and he anchors as well as anybody against a rush. He moves extremely well for his size, and often gets to the second and third level of the defense with ease. He’s very powerful off the snap, and he’s instinctive as well. Cooper picks up stunts with ease, and it’s tough to trick him with exotic defensive schemes. He recorded double-digit knockdown blocks in nine of the 12 games he played in 2012, while earning the North Carolina “Spirit of Service” award for his work in the community. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah noted that various scouts have called him “one of the best guards they’ve ever graded.”

The Bad

At 295 pounds, Cooper doesn’t have ideal size for the guard position at the next level. Alabama’s Chance Warmack is so attractive because he weighs in at 320 pounds, and fits the “mauler” mold. Cooper lacks that massive size that fits the power-run schemes. His toughness, or “nastiness” was in question prior to the 2012 season, as he didn’t play through the whistle. Cooper has average strength, and he can struggle against the larger defensive tackles at the next level. He’s an above-average run blocker, but he really excels in pass-protection, and his run-blocking ability may turn some teams off.

How He Impacts The Bills

With Andy Levitre set to become an unrestricted free agent in just over a month, the Bills would be wise to begin seeking out replacements for him. Levitre is one of the best guards in the National Football League in terms of pass-protection. Jonathan Cooper fits the mold of the pass-happy offense that Doug Marrone employs, and has the athletic ability to keep up with the up-tempo, no-huddle offense that he runs. Cooper is an incredible offensive line prospect, and his value is only deflated because NFL general managers see tackles as more important to offensive line success than guards.

Projected Draft Position:

Top 25 Pick

NFL Player Comparison

Ben Grubbs 

Best Game: Virginia Tech (’12) Maryland (’11)
Worst Game: Missouri (’11)