Name: Cooper Kupp
School: Eastern Washington
Position fit: Versatile WR
Stats to know: Kupp averaged a very high 3.32 yards per route run last season, and his 89.3 overall grade would’ve ranked second among all FBS receivers.
What he does best:
- Really strong hands. Doesn’t wait for the ball to come to him, he’ll attack it at the catch point. Rarely loses in contested catch situations.
- Plays faster than his 40 time, especially for his size.
- Very smart player, recognizes different coverages and will adjust his routes to find the open space. Very good at finding and settling in holes in zones.
- Good footwork, strong in and out of his cuts. Was able to beat tight coverage at the line of scrimmage with feet.
- Great after the catch, can make defenders miss with shifty moves but also big enough to drive through tackle attempts.
- Good route-runner, can disguise routes with head and feet fakes and double moves.
- Very good at using his body at all levels, can box out defenders and use his size to get jump balls.
- Uses his hands well to win at the catch point.
- Acceleration can be an issue. Takes him a bit to get going, may not have that kind of time and space against NFL players.
- While he was effective at running every route he ran, scheme at Eastern Washington limited those routes. Will need more experience running more complex routes.
- Sometimes seems to run a little upright which can slow him down in and out of his breaks.
- Competition level. There were times where Kupp was clearly just a bigger and better athlete than some of the defenders he played against. This won’t be the case in the NFL.
Player comparison: T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Houshmandzadeh was never considered the fastest or strongest or most athletic player on the field. But he made up for it with phenomenal route-running and strong hands. He was very intelligent and knew how to get open against all defenses. He used his size to box out defenders and make tough catches in contested situations. All of this can also be used to describe Kupp. It’s not crazy to think that Kupp could have a similar NFL career to Houshmandzadeh.
Bottom line: Kupp is one of the most exciting prospects in the draft class, in that there is very little he can’t do on the football field. He’s likely never going to be the fastest or strongest player on the field, but he’s quick, he’s smart, he has phenomenal hands and he knows exactly where he needs to be to get the ball. Concerns about his outside receiver potential are mostly overblown (he averaged 5.11 yards per route run outside the slot in 2016). His performance during Senior Bowl week showed that he can play just as well against higher levels of competition. Kupp may not have the flashiness of some of the other receivers in this class, but he very well could be one of the best in it.