Sep 20, 2014; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Xavier Cooper (96) interacts with the crowd going during a game against the Oregon Ducks during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Cooper is very explosive and quick off the snap. Despite spending most of his time at Washington State as a five-technique defensive end, most scouts believe he will project to the NFL as a defensive tackle.
He will thrive vs. the pass as he disrupts quarterbacks and also the passing lanes with his long arms. I see a lot of upside with Cooper. He just needs some good coaching to help him reach his potential.
As a defensive end, he looks a bit slow on tape going up against more athletic tackles. He does a nice job exploding off the snap, but I’d like to see him transfer his speed into power and try to be the first to engage and get the leverage he needs.
Though I don’t expect Cooper to face many zone-read offenses in the NFL, he struggled badly at times against teams like Oregon. He had an overall solid performance against the Ducks, but he is often slow to react at the mesh point.
How He Fits
Detroit’s number one priority this offseason will be to re-sign Ndamukong Suh and/or Nick Fairley. There is a glaring need to keep the defensive tackle position intact next year, and drafting a rookie or two in the mid-later rounds would be a smart idea.
Much like Jason Jones, Cooper would have the ability to play at both DE and DT. He is a bit undersized for a DT, but he is quick off the snap and has great length to bat down balls at the line of scrimmage.
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