DK note: In case you missed it, we finished up the 1st Round of the Field Gulls Writers' mock yesterday, and for a recap of what went down, make sure to check out the post highlighting picks #1 through #24, followed by the post highlighting the players that we writers identified as our picks for Seattle. Field Gulls readers voted for the selection at #25, and the choice was UNC G Jonathan Cooper, so here's an additional look at the guard out of North Carolina from the inimitable Derek Stephens.
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Quick, fluid athlete who moves more like a tight end than a guard. Possesses an athletic frame with evenly-distributed weight and good muscle definition. Comes off the line with explosiveness when asked to get to the 2nd level, and can really break down in space. Stops, starts and redirects with suddenness. Locates and targets opponents early and displays a strong closing burst to engage. Exhibits a quick, violent punch and consistent inside hand placement off the snap.
Gets into his "sit" quickly as a pass protector, and routinely maintains a flat back in his kick-slide. Displays awareness and agility to keep his feet moving on contact and absorb impact with his lower half when taking on thicker, more powerful defenders. Smooth kick-slide in pass protection and never appears overwhelmed by speed. Is constantly out in front, and exhibits elite quickness in reverse, when back-stepping off the line to set up a pull or trap.
Isn't a naturally powerful athlete and struggles to handle the bull-rush when he allows the defender into his frame. Although he does a good job of getting to the 2nd level, struggles to make clean, flush blocks, often approaching high and leading with the shoulder rather than re-setting first, then bending and exploding into his target. Gets a bit "grabby" in space and will be susceptible to a fair amount of holding calls if he doesn't correct. Doesn't always anticipate defender movement very well, and will over-run his blocks, or whiff completely in space.
Cooper is the most agile and athletic guard in the class, and has all the makings of a Pro Bowler at the position. He needs to learn to use leverage better being that he doesn't possess a lot of natural power, and he needs to square up more consistently when asked to pick up defenders in space. There are certainly some raw elements to Cooper's game, but he's a day-one starter on a lot of teams who immediately upgrades pass-protection and brings a ton of un-tapped upside as a run-blocker.
Cooper isn't the highly-physical, road-grader type that Tom Cable prefers for his zone-blocking system, but his elite quickness and athleticism may present enough value to justify Seattle making an exception here. He appears to have room to add mass to his frame, and he certainly possesses the tools to translate his quickness to better power than he's shown thus far.
I see him as a guy who would compete right away for that starting right guard spot, with the versatility to provide depth at any of the three inside positions. Cable has seemed to favor more of the mauler-type on the left side in McQuistan, Carpenter or Moffitt, whereas guys like J.R. Sweezy and Lemuel Jeanpierre - the more agile and fluid of the group - have taken more of their reps on the right side, which is why I reason that this is where Cooper may best fit.
You can find more of Derek's analysis at his Seahawks-centric draft, free agency, & pro player personnel site called "ScoutTheSeahawks." Head over and bookmark it - he maintains a really great free agent tracker in addition to his Draft focus that is much more in-depth than most places because of his background doing deep scouting of NFL Draft prospects.