There were high hopes for guard Jonathan Cooper last season. Once he was in camp, even after a few days, there were some who felt that he was already the best lineman on the field. A broken leg ended his season in the preseason, but NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt sees him as a player poised for a huge second year jump.
Three rookie guards -- Kyle Long (Bears), Chance Warmack (Titans) and Larry Warford (Lions) -- played every down for their teams last season, with Long going on to make the Pro Bowl. And I thought Cooper had a chance to be better than all three. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, a broken leg suffered in the preseason kept the seventh overall pick from seeing a single regular-season snap. Now, though, I'm told by Cards people that he's 100 percent and looks great. Cooper has great functional strength, having tossed up 35 bench reps at the NFL Scouting Combine, and fine character to match. I expect him to start and play at a high level for the next 10 years, becoming a familiar face at the Pro Bowl in the process.
Cooper's strength and athleticism should be a huge upgrade on the line for the offense. He has the skills to be used much like Alan Faneca was in his prime. Paired next to Jared Veldheer, the left side of the offensive line could be as good as any.
Is this too optimistic, or is there reason to be very excited about the offensive line play? How big an impact do you feel he will have in 2014?
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