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Washington Redskins 2016 Draft Profiles: Pharoh Cooper, WR

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2016 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Pharoh Cooper, WR
School: South Carolina | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 203 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Third round
NFL Comparison: Jamison Crowder

College Statistics

Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2013 FR CB 9 3 54 18.0 1 20 202 10.1 1 23 256 11.1 2
*2014 SO WR 13 69 1136 16.5 9 27 200 7.4 2 96 1336 13.9 11
2015 JR WR 12 66 973 14.7 8 24 111 4.6 1 90 1084 12.0 9
Career 138 2163 15.7 18 71 513 7.2 4 209 2676 12.8 22
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 4/15/2016.

Player Overview

Pharoh Cooper doesn't really have a lot of "wow" qualities. He's not very big, he's not very fast, he doesn't have the best hands, he hasn't put up otherworldly numbers and he was never a top contributor on an elite college team. That's not to say he won't be a useful NFL player, but he's pretty much relegated to slot receiver duties. He's fairly reliable, having not missed any time of note, and he comes from a military background, which is often a sign that he'll respond well to coaching.

He's tough, and he doesn't shy from contact, as evidenced by his countless cross routes at South Carolina. Unfortunately, his route tree seems limited to short-to-mid cross routes and screens. While he ran a handful of other routes in college, he didn't do so successfully — most of his fly routes ended in incompletions or the quarterback simply looking elsewhere for the pass.

He'll find a role at the next level, but don't expect him to be a No. 1, or probably even No. 2 receiver on whatever team he lands with, at any point in his career.

Strengths

  • He can take hits, and he does so with some frequency.
  • Though his height is certainly a downside, he's by no means frail. He's built decently and, though he could stand to add some muscle, he's no pushover.
  • Cooper is pretty versatile, having caught passes, carried the ball from the line of scrimmage, thrown some passes (9-of-16 in his career for 118 yards and four touchdowns) and returned punts. He also entered college as a cornerback.
  • His willingness tends to come and go, but he's a capable blocker who wins the battle more often than not against his man, if his man is a defensive back.
  • His numbers dropped slightly from 2014 to 2015, but he was used differently and suffered from inconsistency at the quarterback position in 2015. He was still a reliable target who caught most passes that came his way, and he often added unexpected yards after the catch.

Weaknesses

  • All of his physical abilities, from an athletic standpoint, range from subpar to slightly above average. None of his numbers from the Combine or his Pro Day was especially good, and though that was expected to be the case, his showing in the 40 was worse than anticipated.
  • Drawing from that, where does he fit in? He's surely going to be used as a slot receiver and possibly a returner, but he doesn't really have anything that sets him apart from the slew of other generic slot receivers in the NFL.
  • He's made some impressive catches and he's got reliable hands, but neither of those abilities are next-level talent. He's the kind of player who you expect to make two or three amazing plays per season, not per game, and he's going to catch most things that come his way, not everything.
  • Like many college receivers, he'll need time to adjust to NFL rules. This is a great catch, but it's an incomplete pass in the NFL, and it's not even close. Look at where his second foot is when he goes out of bounds.
  • Very questionable ball security. He frequently holds the ball away from his body with one hand. For example, in this play, it works out fine for him and the extra free hand gives him a slight burst of speed, but most NFL defensive backs are faster than he is and would be able to swat the ball free.

Combine Performance

How He Would Fit on the Redskins

He reminds me so much of Jamison Crowder. He's bigger, stronger and slower than Crowder, and his ability as a punt returned is probably slightly less than Crowder's, but they're so similar in so many ways. Even when you look at how Cooper was used in his final season at South Carolina — a whole lot of bubble screens and 8-yard routes, just like Crowder did a lot of as a rookie with the Redskins. Though Cooper has a couple of inches on Crowder, he's by no means a big receiver, and Washington certainly doesn't need another undersized receiver, at least not one that costs a mid-round draft pick.

Cooper would be a nice addition to the team, but it's tough to see how he fits in anywhere in the top three on the depth chart. This year presumably features Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder at the top of the depth chart; that will likely change next year, but most likely in the form of Garcon, Jackson or both being gone. Do you really want two of your top receivers — Crowder and Cooper — to be below six feet, not especially fast and without elite hands?

If he suffers a dramatic slide come draft weekend, sure, pick him up in the fifth or sixth round. Otherwise, he seems like a poor fit in Washington.