Jonathan Cooper to Cardinals: How Does OG Fit with Arizona?
How does Cooper fit in with what the Cardinals want and need on offense?
For starters, he provides an instant upgrade to everything head coach Bruce Arians wants to do—from running the ball to using play-action to the straight-drop passing game.
In the passing game, Cooper is not quite the mauler Chance Warmack is, but he certainly is an upgrade to current right guard Adam Snyder—who, assuredly, will be out of a starting job as of this pick.
With a better interior offensive line, the Cardinals and quarterback Carson Palmer will not have to worry about the integrity of the pocket. As pass-rushers set the edge on tackles Levi Brown and Bobby Massie, Palmer can rest assured he will have a proper pocket to step into in order to deliver passes.
Cooper does more for the running game than he does for the passing game, however.
He is the most athletic interior lineman from the 2013 draft class, and that gives the offense a unique ability to show many different looks in the run game. His first two steps as he pulls are incredibly quick, so he will get to a potential edge-rusher before the edge-rusher gets to new running back Rashard Mendenhall.
What’s more, in a roundabout way, Cooper will save the defense from short rests on the sidelines. With a more successful rushing attack, the offense will use more of the clock, thereby giving the defense a chance to catch its breath.
Here are some of Cooper's blocking highlights from his time at UNC.
As you can see from the film, he is very athletic and quick. He does not move like a typical guard. This will be to the Cardinals' advantage.
Cooper gives Arizona so many more options on offense just by being able to pull so quickly and be in a designated area faster than a normal guard would be.
It could spell the end of the road in Arizona for Snyder, who may be released sooner or later. The move would save the franchise no money, as it owes Snyder $4 million regardless of his being on the team.
Or, if Arizona so chooses, Snyder can be retained and be asked to take a pay cut in order to free up some money for another piece down the road. He can serve as backup to four positions on the line, having played guard, tackle and center throughout his nine-year NFL career.
Whatever the choice is on Snyder, the starting right guard for the Cardinals is now Jonathan Cooper.
As pointed out by Mel Kiper on ESPN’s live broadcast immediately following the pick, Cooper can play center as well, so when down the road they have to replace Sendlein, the team does not have to look far to find someone to take his spot—but that is so far down the line it is unworthy of further analysis.
Let’s all welcome Cooper to the Valley by following him on Twitter and giving him a shout-out. He is excited to be here, no doubt. You should be, as well.
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