Draft Target: Jonathan Cooper
We have already discussed the possibility of the Vikings upgrading the guard position via the NFL Draft or free agency, and noted that Chance Warmack is one of the better prospects at the position to come out in quite some time.
Not far behind Warmack, however, is North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper whose versatility gives him a fighting chance to actually be selected ahead of Warmack. After all, some teams seem to place a very high value on versatility and Cooper’s ability to play three (or maybe even four) positions on the offensive line will only increase his probability of getting drafted early on day one.
Cooper recently put on some needed weight and checked into the NFL’s Scouting Combine at 6’ 2” and 311 pounds, which are both good measurements for him to have on file, as there were questions about his ability to play effectively in the NFL at his listed sub-300 weight.
North Carolina has benefitted from a great offensive line, led by Cooper, and a solid run game highlighted by Giovani Bernard. Cooper has been a mainstay starter for the Tarheels his entire career, proving to be fairly durable with only three missed games on record.
From a scheme standpoint, the Vikings would be an excellent fit for the very athletic and agile Cooper, who is likely to excel as a pulling guard at the next level that is plenty capable of holding his own against the pass rush attack. He would be that guy, much like Matt Kalil, that you see putting second-level blocks on linebackers on Adrian Peterson’s highlight reel of the week.
That athleticism was on display this weekend as Cooper had an excellent all-around Combine performance that should have solidified his status as a first round pick, possibly off the board before the Vikings make their first selection.
Don’t be surprised if the Vikings end up playing against Cooper twice a year, as this guy certainly must be on Chicago’s radar.