Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.
The 49ers' final draft pick, a compensatory one, of the 2013 NFL Draft was Rutgers cornerback, Marcus Cooper. Most fans do not really get their hopes up over players picked up in the final rounds. But, Marcus Cooper got my attention early on. First of all, he was the only corner selected by the 49ers in the draft. It was telling. The 49ers must be relatively confident in their current cornerbacks to not have selected one earlier. We really are loaded on the corners.
Still, I cannot ignore the talent in Cooper. He is a super physical corner and he possesses good height (6'2") and speed (4.45 second 40-yard dash). At Rutgers pro-day, Cooper had the best vertical leap (39 inches) and the top showing in the broad jump (10 feet, nine inches). He is not afraid to physically engage a receiver or anyone he is covering. I would not call him a textbook tackler, but Cooper can hit very hard.
What gives Cooper a leg up in the roster competition is he has special teams experience. The bulk of special teams players are not specialists the way they used to be. The caliber of the cover teams, across the league, reflects that. Most of the rookies are told if they want to make the roster, they have to play on special teams. As I see it, this gives Cooper a strong advantage. Cooper is capable at defending punt returns and field goals, among other things.
Apparently, at minicamp, Cooper made a strong impression with the coaching staff. Given the fact Cooper is relatively new at the cornerback position, having transitioned only two years ago from wide receiver, it shows he is willing to work hard and has a lot of athleticism. At minicamp, Cooper looked good. Cooper held his own and broke up passes against fellow rookie, Quiton Patton. He covered his man. It was further reported Cooper was eager to listen and take in every point made by the coaches.
What to expect in 2013
Expect Marcus Cooper to give it 100% when it comes to competition. The 49ers are already very heavy at cornerback, and with the acquisition of Eric Wright -- Cooper is definitely a long shot at corner. What is interesting, save a few of our rookies, the majority of our secondary for 2013 are in their contract years. I expect Cooper to take advantage of his rookie season to learn from the veterans. And, I expect him to vigorously vie for a spot on special teams. If he proves himself this year, it gives the 49ers some leverage when it comes to the other defensive backs.
Cooper is definitely someone to watch and I like the fact the 49ers acquired him. Our current corners create stiff competition in his position; however, I think Cooper has the ability to make his mark on special teams. I think he will be ready to compete and hopefully see some snaps during the preseason.
Odds of making the roster
I know a few Niners Nation writers have stated the young corner's odds at making the roster are zero to none. And, that may be the case. Although, I think most of the reasoning has only taken account his chances at cornerback. Yes, his odds are extremely slim at obtaining a position with our loaded roster. However, he will give other rookies a run for their money on special teams. Don't be too quick to count out this physical player. He shows good speed and athletic ability. I am anxious to see what he does.