When the Arizona Cardinals selected guard Jonathan Cooper with the seventh pick in this year's NFL Draft, they were drafting a player that they felt could possibly have a career like Alan Faneca did -- a potential Hall of Fame career.
One ESPN analyst, Gary Horton, believes that Cooper will be one of the top 10 offensive lineman by the 2016 season, according to his Insider post.
He has him as the 10th best lineman in the game three seasons from now.
The more you watch this guy on film, the better you like him. He is one of the best young "space" players in the NFL. His athletic ability and range are terrific for an interior lineman. He can pull and get around the edge. He can get to the second level inside and block safeties and linebackers. He has natural bend and leverage skills. Although he hasn't had a lot of experience at making line calls, he easily could slide to center. He can fit well in a zone blocking scheme. This guy really has a high ceiling.
This is a nice projection.
Since the Cardinals came to Arizona, they have had a couple of pretty good players on the offensive line -- Louis Sharpe and Lomas Brown (although Brown was near the end of his career). They also had Faneca, but only a shell of the player he was. I cannot recall a single individual that was ever considered one of the league's best on the line.
For decades, the best lines we have seen, it has been average. Wouldn't it be nice if average were the baseline?
If Cooper can become a top 10 lineman, that would be a good start.
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