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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: IOL Samuel Cooper

  • The Draft Network
  • February 4, 2021
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Samuel Cooper originally started his career at Maine. Transferring following the 2017 season, he went on to become a starter at left guard. Possessing a compact frame, Cooper is a stocky and well-put-together interior offensive lineman. Using his frame to his advantage, he’s a supremely strong player that understands how to utilize his strength in a controlled manner. Comfortable in his domain in the B-gaps, he’s also able to short pull onto the edges when faced with gap/man blocking scheme concepts. 

Ideal Role: Developmental guard or center.

Scheme Fit: Man/Gap/Power scheme.


Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Mayville State (2019), Central Connecticut (2019), St. Francis (2019), Delaware State (2019)

Best Game Studied: Delaware State (2019)

Worst Game Studied: Central Connecticut (2019)

Competitive Toughness: An area that stands out about Cooper is how unruly his approach can be. A competitive blocker, but he isn’t one that simply uses his overbearing strength. He has the lower half to match his strong upper body. A well-above-average anchor, he has the ability to nail his feet in the ground and delay the process of interior rushers.

Balance: Uses his low body levels, Cooper maintains the winning edge of the leverage battle. A mature lower half to match a strong upper body helps him when engaged in battles. He's not asked to move much off of his spots, but when he was tasked with playing outside of the tackle boxes, he looked comfortable while moving in space. Showing proper balance, he’s been able to be successful in pass protection as a result. 

Anchor Ability: With a body construction that’s pieced all there together, he’s able to generate plenty of force. When he wants to transfer that force upward or downward, he’s able to do so quickly because of a frame that’s scrunched together to form a powerful prospect.

Lateral Mobility: Cooper’s biggest challenges come when he’s forced off of his pre-snap spots. Wanting to create quick wins by eliminating matchups with his strength, zone blocking schemes are a bit foreign to him. A short stepper when on the perimeter or when forced to move side-to-side, his lack of twitch and length are both apparent. Targets that are in his immediate parameters are obtainable.

Power at P.O.A.: The trait that his entire skill set centers around is his power. Cooper has extremely high strength levels. In pass protection, when his gaps are uncovered and he looks for work, he’s quick to help out. During those reps, he has some bone-crushing help blocks that send defenders flying in the opposite direction or immediately to the ground. The same goes for him as a run blocker. When able to latch on, he has superior grip strength that enables him to grab a hold of the opposition and finish them.  

Hand Technique: Playing with proper posture at the snap of the ball, he keeps his hands ready and active to strike. The biggest improvement that Cooper will need to make is his tendency to lunge into those blocks. Turning himself into a head ducker, he takes an all-or-nothing approach into blocks. This could cause higher probabilities of whiffing on them with no base to recover on if he misses with his initial attempt.  

Football IQ: Manning the left guard spot for 16 games, he was able to develop some comfort when there. During the 2019 season, he proved to settle into his own and do more than just his responsibilities. Extra work in pass pro and moving to the next man as a run blocker if his original assignment wasn’t in his sightline were two noticeable differences during his jump from 2018 to 2019. 

Versatility: Having never played center (no documentation), Cooper only has prior experience at guard. Later on, proving that he can play center could be beneficial to his long-term outlook. But for now, he’s strictly a guard prospect. 

Pass Sets: Involved in many full slide protections, Cooper keeps his head on a swivel to stay alert for any threats. Once locked onto his target, his strength is able to take over. Cooper’s polish with his overall technique will need further detail added to it, as he can be over-reliant on his strength. His reliance on that and lack of nuance with his technique could become exposed by better talents on the next level if he continues with that trend. 

Flexibility: Not playing with much bend overall with his game because of how low his stature is, he’s able to still sustain sufficient pad level in order to forklift his matchups. Playing with greater flexibility will only help an already powerful approach become an even greater weapon in many facets. 


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Jordan Reid: 67/100

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