[Editor’s note: This is another installment in a series we will be running at Vikings Territory providing scouting reports for players the Vikings could potentially target in the 2015 Draft. All scouting reports are provided in partnership with Luke Inman and eDraft.com. You can find all of our previous scouting reports here. Continue reading below to learn more about Amari Cooper who was the heavy favorite to be the first wide receiver drafted until the recent rise of Kevin White.]

Amari Cooper

Wide Receiver / Alabama

 Fred Biletnikoff Award Winner (Best Receiver in the Nation)

Measurables

Height: 6′ 1″

Weight: 211 lbs.

Hand Size: 10″

Arm Length: 31-1/2″

40 Yard Dash: 4.42 seconds

Vertical Jump: 33 inches

Bench Press: N/A

Broad Jump: 120 inches

3 Cone Drill: 6.71 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 3.98 seconds

60 Yard Shuttle: N/A

Spider Graph (courtesy of Mockdraftable.com)

The above spider graph, courtesy of Mockdraftable.com, shows what percentile this player is against other players at the same position. Clicking the “Measurements & Comparisons” tab on the bottom of the graphic will show additional Measurements information along with player comparisons from the Mockdraftable.com database based strictly off historic measurable data.

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Player Analysis

Pros:

  • Freaky shiftiness off the line of scrimmage giving him a clean release off man and press coverage
  • An acceleration and quickness that seems unfair and causes defenders to take poor angles
  • Explodes in-and-out of his cuts with precise route running and special speed
  • Gets from first to second to third gear in a flash and makes safeties vulnerable and unconfident
  • Great football IQ that he doesn’t get enough credit for
  • Shows the football savviness that is needed from a starting receiver in the NFL including an understanding of how to help his quarterback in his routes
  • Incredible acceleration, speed, and shiftiness in the open field with the ball in his hands after the catch
  • A more than willing blocker in the run game

Cons:

  • Great hands but drops at least one ball a game due to concentration issues
  • Not great at attacking the ball in jump ball situations meaning he won’t thrive in red zone
  • Average at best timing the ball at its highest point
  • At his best in the slot with a free release meaning teams may need to use him in the slot more than expected
  • Great off the line of scrimmage but his size indicates he may not be a prototypical number one receiver in the NFL
  • Uses athleticism to get himself open, but needs to work on using his body to shield defenders away from the ball when caught it tight coverage

NFL Player Comparison:

Reggie Wayne / Torry Holt

College Scheme / Projected Scheme:

Alabama (Pro Style) / West Coast

Fit with the Vikings:

I watched a lot of Amari Cooper film and, boy, do I love his game and how he’s going to translate to the NFL. Quick and savvy off the line of scrimmage, Cooper gets a good release into his route, runs great patterns and has reliable hands – all things that equate to a smooth transition at the next level. However, something that just can’t be put into words is his acceleration and football speed with pads on. Cooper is just so good in-and-out of his cuts with a circus-like burst out of a canon that he always seems to get himself open. But plenty of receivers have speed and hands, so what separates Cooper from his peers? For me, its his football IQ and understanding of the game. Recognizing a blitz on third and short, Cooper will cut his route short and find the soft spot in the zone, offering up a trustworthy target when his quarterback needs him most. It’s the little things like this that have me convinced Cooper is not just the safest receiver in this class, but a blue-chip prospect that doesn’t come around often.

Knowing all of that, the Vikings would be foolish to pass on a prospect like that at pick 11, especially when it’s at a position of need. But, where would Cooper fit in the Vikings depth chart amongst what seems to be a crowded group of wide-outs? As a “smaller” wide-out that is solid from the outside but really excels from the slot, Cooper seems to match the role Greg Jennings already owns. Remember, what this offense needs most in Norv Turner’s system is a receiver that can consistently stretch the field vertically and win one-on-one matchups down the field. Unfortunately, that is not Cooper’s game. As tough as it is to say, Cooper doesn’t complement the Vikings’ needs from the wide-out position, but instead, duplicates a bit of both Greg Jennings’ and Charles Johnson’s strengths and style. And while Cooper may grade out as a better talent or as a pure prospect, a player like Kevin White or, my personal favorite, Devante Parker, fits the Vikings’ needs better.

Draft Grade:

Top-12 (#6 Overall Ceiling)

Check out the below Draft Profile Breakdown of Amari Cooper courtesy of eDraft.com.

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