close
close

What to expect from rookie LB Edgerrin Cooper

The Green Bay Packers selected Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper with the 45th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, making him the first off-ball linebacker off the board.

The Packers were also the first team to draft an inside linebacker in 2022 when they took Quay Walker 22nd overall.

Green Bay is currently transitioning to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, so additions to the linebacker room were expected. Of course, in today’s NFL, defenses spend most of their time in the nickel with two linebackers. However, the Packers have an opening to fill after releasing 2021 All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell earlier in the offseason.

Cooper is reportedly expected to replace Campbell as the three-down linebacker, pairing him with Walker. He certainly has the athleticism and skills to do it.

Cooper weighs 6-2, 230 pounds and has been a good tester, running the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and recording a relative athletic score of 9.13. A two-year starter for the Aggies, he finished with 205 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two interceptions, eight pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. This type of production has made Cooper the best inside linebacker in this year’s class.

Of course, teams don’t recruit players based solely on their athletic traits and past statistics. The number one indicator of whether a guy can play is his film. So for this movie theater, we’re taking a closer look at some Cooper tapes from his final season.

Afterward, we’ll have a better idea of ​​what the Packers see in Cooper.

Let’s get started.

Run Defense

Part of the reason Cooper is able to rack up tackles is his processing skills and football IQ. Deep down, he knows where to be to play. Cooper is in a great position here, filling the cutback route perfectly and is able to combat the dropback for a TFL.

Cooper is at his best when playing downhill. His play speed is evident in this play, in which he beats blockers to the point of attack and pulls the gap to get a hand on the ball carrier.

This piece highlights his athleticism, vision, and understanding of leverage. Cooper’s eyes never leave the ball carrier as he shuffles his feet and gets into position to stalk the ball carrier, whether he chooses to bounce the run outside or drop back. In this case, the fullback digs his foot into the ground, but Cooper is there waiting for him. It even resulted in a fumble.

Again, when Cooper stays clean and can violently initiate a run, he can be very disruptive.

When not hampered by blockers, he also shows good range as a fullback.

Cooper isn’t just super-fast. He has the functional play strength to block a ball carrier in the B space.

Cover, Pass Rush, Spy Job

Cooper also displays an impressive range in coverage. Lined up in the middle, watch him come from the opposite hash to find the ball carrier catching a pass in the flat, coming in punishingly.

He has the speed to cover running backs and tight ends by moving vertically. Here he completely takes the back off by running a cartwheel route out of the backfield.

Cooper could find himself occasionally used as a passer in Green Bay. In this piece, he is lined up on the edge and used as a looper during a stunt. He shows good patience on the play and is able to get home against the second overall pick, Jayden Daniels.

Cooper will also be a good spy option when the Packers face mobile quarterbacks. He has the athleticism to take on space.

Conclusion

Green Bay added a wiry second-level defender who can wear multiple hats in its new defense. He has all the tools to be a three-down defender alongside Walker. Some wonder if he will be MIKE’s linebacker since that’s what he played in college. However, the Packers are unlikely to tag Cooper or Walker. Both can play MIKE or WILL on any given play and that flexibility cannot be understated.

Overall, Green Bay is getting an impact player who will likely be a starter from day one. Cooper is a prototypical modern linebacker who will thrive in an aggressive scheme. My main concerns are his hand use when stacking and clearing blockers. He will have to work on his technique to make it more functional/coherent. Cooper will also have to clean up his missed tackles. According to Pro Football Focus, he missed double-digit tackles in three straight seasons at Texas A&M. Film shows that sometimes his angles are too aggressive, making him susceptible to being missed by elusive ball carriers.

Read all the best Packers coverage on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Packers Wire.