The NFL draft is almost upon us! After spending weeks and months predicting and contemplating who the 49ers should take, our questions will finally be answered by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan starting on April 27th. One position that seems to have gotten plenty of attention this offseason is wide receiver. The 49ers fielded perhaps the worst receiving unit in the league last season. With offseason additions in possession receiver Pierre Garçon and speedster Marquise Goodwin this unit has improved, but is far from a complete unit.
Almost nothing shocks me, but I will admit it will be shocking should the 49ers not add a wide receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft. Hence, the million dollar question….what round? Hard to say really with any position. There are holes up and down the roster, and the more I think about it, the more the 49ers really should go BPA in each round and just improve this roster as much as they can. With all that said, let’s assume they focus on wide receiver on day two. Let’s profile and check out Eastern Washington receiver and my favorite FCS draft prospect, Cooper Kupp.
Cooper Kupp is fun to watch on film. Between his acrobatic, circus-like catches to his quick, changing feet, knocking defensive backs off balance, Kupp has a set of skills that NFL teams will be very interested in. Watching his film, Kupp seems to play his best and the majority of his reps from the slot position. His strong and reliable hands helped him reel in the most catches in division one football, and his vision and field awareness as a receiver continued to improve during his time at EWU. Something else to consider, is that although he played at an FCS school, he still played well against elite competition. Some names he lined up against include current NFL cornerback Marcus Peters and fellow NFL draft prospect Sidney Jones.
Here is Kupp’s stats for the 2016 season: 117 receptions for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was 10-162 has a punt returner including a touchdown, and wa sthe recipient of the Walter Payton Award as the best FCS player in the nation.
School: Eastern Washington University
Jersey Number: 10
Weight: 204 lbs.
Hands: 9 1/2
Arm Length: 31 1/2”
40 Yard Dash: 4.62
Vertical Jump: 31.0”
Broad Jump: 116.0”
3 Cone: 6.75
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.08
How the measurables translate for WRs
Stats courtesy of Draft Breakdown
Drill Target Explanation
40 yd dash 4.55 Speed over distance
10 yd split 1.60 Initial quickness
225 Bench 12. Upper body strength
Vertical Jump 36″ Explosiveness
Broad Jump 10’0″ Explosiveness
20 yd shuttle 4.15 Flexibility/burst/balance
60 yd shuttle 11.4 Endurance
3 cone drill 7.00. Agility/COD
Do Your Homework
Below is a video of highlights and game film of Cooper Krupp in action. Kupp plays mostly out of the slot.
- Volume receiver, who was extremely productive and consistent game in and game out during his collegiate career.
- Strong and reliable hands that can reel in passes even in heavy traffic.
- Has the ability to make out-of-range catches and turn nothing-into-something.
- Can play the short, intermediate, and deep routes to offer maximum production on the field.
- Can track the ball very well, and has strong vision and field awareness to not only track down the pass, but also nearby defenders.
- Will challenge cornerbacks and safeties in one-to-one matchups and contest those jump balls. Has a good spring in his feet.
- Quick, changing feet, that can knock defenders off-balance and create open space for him to make a play, and gain yards after the reception.
- Takes care of the football! Tucks it away and runs!
- Highly competitive. Wants the football, and wants to make a play when he’s on the field.
- Special Teams experience that will be highly valued, especially early on in his NFL career.
- His speed leaves a little to be desired. Ran a slow 40 at the combine, and wasn’t the fastest receiver on tape either.
- At the moment Kupp seems limited to the slot receiver position. Seems to be his best option at the next level. (Though there is potential for him to move to the outside.)
- Needs to continue to build and grow his route tree, and become a more confident route runner at the next level.
- Had trouble with separation from defenders at points this season (links to his speed), and will really need to rely on his feet and fakes, to create separation at the next level.
There is a lot to like about Cooper Kupp. He has a great set of skills as a receiver that will translate well to the next level. While it seems like he is limited to the slot position at the moment, there is strong potential for him to transition to the outside as he gets accustomed to the speed and demands of the NFL. You can't help but to love his competitive nature and desire to make a big play for his team. His strong and reliable hands helped him become the leading receiver in division one, and his ability to contest jump balls with defenders is a must in the pass-friendly NFL.
It would be interesting to see where he fits in with the San Francisco 49ers. The team recently re-signed slot receiver Jeremy Kerley and we can’t forget about Bruce Ellington who was lost for all of last season due to a hamstring injury. I really like Kerley, and he is the strong favorite to be the starting slot receiver for the 49ers in 2017. The real question is Ellington, and his future. Perhaps the 49ers are getting nervous about his health and injury history, and decide to go another direction. Perhaps they hold onto him, but still want a cheap option behind Kerley. This is where Kupp can potentially be drafted by the 49ers. It doesn't hurt that he has special teams experience either.
Should the 49ers decide to go with Kupp they will probably have to select him with their third round pick. There is a possibility he slips to the fourth, but I don't see it happening. There was just too much production for Kupp to drop to day 3. Should he begin to drop towards the end of round 3, the 49ers can perhaps trade back into the end of the 3rd round and select him. I really like Cooper Kupp, and would not be disappointed if the 49ers selected him, though my preference would be no earlier than the third.
Draft Projection: 3rd Round
What are YOUR thoughts on Cooper Kupp? Is he a fit for the 49ers? If so, what round would you select him in? Please share in the comments below!