DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
It has almost become cliché to say that interior offensive linemen don’t get the recognition they deserve. That may have been the case in the past, but today’s savvier fans have access to game film and advanced statistics that have illustrated the value of excellent guard play. Last year, David DeCastro was almost universally lauded within the draft community. This year, it has been Alabama’s Chance Warmack drawing high praise all season long. But North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper might not be too far behind.
Jonathan Cooper North Carolina G 6’3 310
Cooper does a terrific job pulling and clearing the hole on running plays. He looks for a man to hit and attacks, demonstrating a “nasty streak” that NFL teams love. However, he does get a little bit lost at times. Sometimes he’s lunging or getting in front and failing to find a body to block. At times he throws a block and disengages a tad too early.
Cooper is quick to get out to the second level and pick up a linebacker when called upon to do so. He shows good power and leverage with a strong anchor to hold his ground. Cooper is not the biggest guy, but has a powerful frame. Considering his build and his trouble locating defenders in space, he may have more success in a power running game early on, rather than a zone blocking scheme – though he appears capable of playing in any system.
Cooper is capable of walling off his man to the inside on off tackle and outside running plays. He is generally able to recognize when he needs to take his man one on one versus when he needs to help out one of his teammates. Cooper is an excellent pass protecting offensive lineman. He is not a finished product, but when he is decisive and puts a hat on a hat he can be one of the best guards in the class.
Vs. Virginia Tech (’12)
- Does a good job early of pulling and locating his man.
- Just see some inconsistent technique – sometimes he’s lunging or he’s getting in front and failing to find someone to put a body on.
- At times he throws a block and disengages a tad early – not a finished product.
- When he is decisive and puts a hat on a hat he is very good.
- Looks for a man to hit, attacks, shows that he can be “nasty”
Vs. Maryland (’12)
- Great job pulling and clearing the hole for his RB.
- Gets a little bit lost on a couple of plays – a screen and a pull.
- Gets out to the second level and picks up a LB.
- Shows good power and leverage.
- Looks suited for a power running game or zone blocking scheme – he could probably handle either.
- Able to wall of his man to the inside on outside and off tackle run plays.
- Strong anchor, holds his ground.
- Generally able to recognize when he needs to take his man one on one versus when he needs to help out a teammate
- Very good pass protecting guard