Four hundred and twenty-eight catches. Six THOUSAND and sixty-four yards. Seventy-three touchdowns... Those are absolute video game numbers for a four year career and they belong to Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp.
"But Ben!" You say. "He was playing against lesser teams. Those numbers are not that impressive." Well, what if I told you that in his five games against FBS competition, Kupp averaged nine catches, 157 yards and over two touchdowns a game.... Convinced?
Well what if said he did it like this?
Alright. So now you're on board right?
The offense at Eastern Washington is not very complicated for a receiver in terms of route tree, so Cupp saw a lot of production on pop passes, screens, slants, drags, and go routes. So while Kupp saw a lot "gimme" passes, he kicks ass after the catch.
This is not only a crisp out route from Kupp, his transition to runner from receiver is seamless and his vision with the ball in his hands is excellent. Not only does he have very good speed after the catch, he is a tough runner with the ball in his hands.
He consistently does a great job of finding daylight after he catches the ball and powering through tackles to pick up extra yardage.
He is at his best when Eastern Washington lets him work out of the slot, get open against zone, and find yards after the catch.
Kupp should test very well considering how well he moves on tape for a 6'2", 215-pound receiver. His speed is almost instantaneous after he catches the ball, making him such a viable yards after catch threat.
While he is so dangerous in space, Kupp also shows an ability to catch the ball in close quarters.
These are great ball skills and focus by Kupp to secure the ball with one hand despite the fact the defender was interfering with him. Kupp often does not get these opportunities to show off his skills in traffic because he is usually open, but this is an encouraging sign.
Because of EWU's offense, Kupp also has few opportunities to show route-running savvy beyond some slants and out/in routes, but his efficiency in movement is encouraging.
He has quick feed and uses his eyes well to fake receivers, and considering the reports that he killed people all during Senior Bowl week, there is reason to be encouraged about translating to the pros.
Kupp has a lot of encouraging attributes, but there are questions to his game. First, the most obvious issue is that he has a tendency to drop the ball for no particular reason.
These are focus drops, so it is a fixable issue, but an issue nonetheless.
The biggest issue is the age combined with the questions for Kupp's learning curve. Kupp will be twenty-four before his rookie year even starts, which is significantly older than most rookies coming into the league. His advanced age explains why he was so dominant in college and it suggests he likely will not improve much in the league. Considering there are questions about how he can play in traffic, a limited ceiling can be a concern.
Luckily, Kupp is pretty damn good right now. While there are questions, Kupp is great after the catch and does a very good job getting open from the slot against zone coverage. So he can contribute sooner than later.
Pro Comparison: In terms of strengths and role, Cooper Kupp has a lot of Jordan Matthews to his game. Kupp's ability to get yards after the catch from the slot can be a major asset in an offense and, though he could play on the outside, he is best suited playing in the middle of the field. He is a big bodied, athletic receiver who has focus drops, but can still be a valuable role player on an offense.
Cooper Kupp probably will not be a number one receiver in the NFL. The questions about his ability to play on the outside may limit his production ceiling, but his ability in the slot will make him a very viable NFL player. Assuming his flashes as a route runner become more consistent as he asked to do more in the NFL, he will be an immediate contributor. His age hurts the life of his career, but getting a pro-ready option in an offense on a rookie deal is money well spent. For the Eagles, he does not meet the need for a true number one, but he could be a significant upgrade over at least one of the current starters. Considering his age, taking him on day one would be a mistake; however, he would immediately be of great value on day two of the draft, and would start making a positive impact almost immediately.