Mariel Cooper, CB
School: The Citadel
Years Pro: R
Height/Weight: 5'11", 192 lbs.
Senior (2015): 12 G, 11 GS, 30 tackles, 4 TFL, 8 PDs, 1 INT
South Carolina State (2012-2014): 31 tackles, 1 PD, 1 FR, 1 blocked kick
Mariel Cooper hails from a small football school in a small conference. He wasn't expecting to be drafted... and he wasn't. CBs are always in demand in the NFL, so Mariel was fortunate to get a tryout with the Redskins. Despite the incredible CB depth on the roster already, he was able to turn that tryout into a roster spot heading towards training camp in Richmond. His highlights are pretty impressive. You watch him play and think, "Maybe this guy could stick in the NFL." Still, he wasn't highly touted and there hasn't been a lot written on him aside from him joining The Audible right here on our very own Hogs Haven (June 7th and May 17th).
After graduating from SC State, Cooper transferred to The Citadel for one final season of college football. He was a graduate student at The Citadel after graduating from SC State with a degree in civil engineering technology. He was pretty well recruited in SC after playing in the 2010 Shrine Bowl and being a two-time All-State pick in HS. While with SC State, he helped win two MEAC championships and made the MEAC All-Academic Team three years in a row. He studied sports management during his one year at The Citadel.
Mariel is known for his work ethic/habits, approach to practice, and great habits in the film room. He has enough athleticism and strength to play in the NFL. Watching whatever tape I could find for Mariel, it seems apparent that he has good vision and takes good angles. He plays with the right attitude and goes hard until the whistle blows.
With the depth and talent in front of him at the CB position for the 'Skins, it would appear Mariel's only chance at finding a home here will be to impress enough to warrant a spot on the PS. You can never have enough quality CB depth in this league, but the 'Skins have one of the best CB groups in the NFL right now and are as deep as any team. You have to think Mariel was brought in to see if he can contribute on STs and possibly return some punts. He's got good speed/quickness and will need to work hard for ST Coordinator Ben Kotwica in order to have a chance of sticking around Washington.
Mariel plays with good consistency and intensity. He seems to enjoy football and looks like he has fun playing it.
- Athleticism/Speed - 14 reps, 37" vertical, 9'9" broad jump, 4.43 forty
- Work Ethic
- STs Ability
- Faced off against inferior competition in college.
- Part of probably the toughest/deepest group to make the team.
Good day for Mariel Cooper! @NFLRegCom @Locker_Report @DraftDiamonds #ProDay #NFLDraft #TeamSPARC https://t.co/8F80rmb9ET— SPARC (@teamSPARC) March 31, 2016
Mariel Cooper gives back during his free time from training for the NFL, @CitadelSports @NFL @DraftScout247 pic.twitter.com/fc1nIMAJfs— SPARC (@teamSPARC) February 16, 2016
How He Can Impact the Redskins
Mariel is going to have to absolutely ball out over camp and the preseason (especially on STs) to have any chance at all of making the final 53. He's a likable player, but the 'Skins are already so stacked at his position. It's going to be very tough.
If the coaches like what he brings on teams enough, I could see them carving out a spot on the PS for him. He'll need to show some defensive potential too, obviously. He could very well be cut simply because of the glut of talent the 'Skins already have at CB (and look like they'll have for years to come thanks to that talent being largely very young). Nothing against Cooper, but those are the numbers...