Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds (14th)
Vertical: 31” (7th)
Broad: 116” (23rd)
3-cone: 6.75 seconds (79th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.08 seconds (81st)
From a pure production standpoint, Kupp might have the most impressive profile in the WR class. It needs to be put into context, though.
He played in the Big Sky Conference of the FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA). Kupp's conference foes included schools like Cal Poly, Southern Utah and Idaho St. You get the point.
He also played for an uber-productive passing game. Eastern Washington averaged 4,836 yards and 48.3 TDs per season during Kupp’s career. Twice they threw for 5,000+ yards and 50+ TDs.
It’s also worth noting that Kupp is an older prospect. He played his senior season at 23 years old, competing against guys 3 or 4 years younger.
All that said, Kupp’s numbers are still mighty impressive.
After redshirting in 2012, he set 6 FCS records in his debut season, including receptions, yards and TDs by a freshman. His 1,691 receiving yards led the entire FCS.
His yardage and TD totals dipped a tad in 2014, but both marks still ranked among the top 5 in the FCS. And his 104 catches led the league.
Kupp was again the most productive WR in the FCS as a junior, leading the league in catches, yards and TDs.
His senior season brought new career highs in catches and yards — despite missing a game-and-a-half and being clearly bothered in others with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder.
Kupp left Eastern Washington as the career FCS leader in catches (428), receiving yards (6,464) and TDs (73). He set another record with 31 games of 100+ yards. And he hit pay dirt in a remarkable 43 of 52 career outings. Kupp also dabbled in the return game, scoring 3 TDs on just 25 career punt returns.
Even in the context of Eastern Washington’s elite passing game, Kupp’s numbers stand up well. Over the past 4 seasons, he accounted for 30.6% of the team’s receptions, 33.4% of the receiving yards and 37.8% of the receiving TDs. All 3 marks best Mike Williams, John Ross and JuJu Smith-Schuster’s career market shares.
Kupp also fared well against tougher competition. He played 4 games against Pac-12 schools (Washington St., Washington, Oregon and Oregon St.) and compiled a strong 40 catches, 716 yards and 11 scores.
Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
Games watched - Oregon (2015), Washington St., Northern Arizona, Central Arkansas, Richmond
When I sit down to do film study on these prospects, I watch all the games in succession and note which plays I might want to include in the breakdown. I jotted down 14 plays of Kupp, and 7 of them had to do with his after-the-catch ability.
He’s a playmaker with the ball in his hands, with good acceleration and sneaky speed thanks to his long strides. Kupp can also shed tackles and flashes a nasty stiff arm.
Kupp relies mostly on his speed and power after the catch, but he does display some make-you-miss ability.
OK, so how’s Kupp before the ball gets into his hands?
As a route runner, there’s work to do. He did a lot of his damage on screens — and some more on simple out and crossing patterns. Kupp was able to beat inferior competition without running precise routes.
He does boast strong ball skills, though. Kupp catches most everything that he can get his hands on. I charted him with just 3 drops on 58 catchable targets — a solid 5.2% drop rate.
Kupp’s film is impressive — even factoring in the weaker competition. So his Combine results were disappointing. He registered a SPARQ score in the 23rd percentile at his position.
This Harvard study found, though, that measurables do not significantly predict NFL success for WRs. Production is more telling. And Kupp boasts that in spades.
Now, he’s also an unrefined WR. There wasn’t much variety or nuance to his routes in college, which figures to cause some problems as he makes the massive jump from the FCS to NFL. That’s more concerning considering Kupp’s advanced age.
Eastern Washington used Kupp primarily from the slot, which could be his role as a pro. We’ve seen more and more NFL teams use big-bodied guys to create mismatches in the slot. And note that Kupp fared well in the agility drills at the Combine, which suggests that he’ll be able to create separation in tight spaces.
A slot role on the right team could make Kupp a high-volume, possession receiver. Think Jordan Matthews. But there’s also a chance this old, small-school prospect is swallowed up by NFL DBs and quickly flames out.
Consider him a risk/reward pick in your dynasty rookie draft.