Pharoh Cooper 2016 NFL Draft Profile

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Overview
Position: Wide Receiver
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 208 lbs
School: South Carolina Gamecocks

Combine/Pro Day Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.61
Bench Press: 17 reps
Vertical Jump: 31 inches

Pharoh Cooper 2016 NFL Draft Profile

The lone bright spot in a dark season for the Gamecocks this year, once described by his high school coaches as a ‘little man’, Pharoh Cooper has become one of the biggest names in the history of the South Carolina program.

Read: Spurrier’s True Legacy at South Carolina 

Cooper began his football career playing Pop Warner under his father Glenn in Havelock, North Carolina. Even as a child, Cooper was displaying the versatility he would become known for at South Carolina.

“Any position I put him at, he was fine. He might have that little look on his face at first, but after a while, he would straighten up and fly right.” – Cooper’s father Glenn on coaching his son during his Pop Warner days.

That versatility would follow Cooper as he began his high school career. At North Carolina powerhouse Havelock High School, Cooper saw time at multiple positions including quarterback, running back, and defensive back. He also starred on the baseball diamond and the basketball court.  During his senior season, he would start at quarterback and pass for 2,966 yards and 26 touchdowns on the season. Cooper would additionally rush for 1,283 with 20 touchdowns, catch 65 passes for 1,285 yards and 14 touchdowns while also spending time at defensive back. All of this helped the Rams win their second consecutive North Carolina 3A State Title.

Though Cooper wanted to play for his home state, the Tar Heels let him get away and a scholarship offer following his sophomore year from South Carolina led to Cooper making the trip down I-77 to Columbia.

Recruited as a safety, Cooper would switch to wide receiver before the start of his freshman year. He would earn Freshman all-SEC honors after contributing at a number of positions to finish third on the team with 655 all-purpose yards.

As the catalyst of the Gamecocks offense this past season, Cooper would finish with 973 receiving yards including five games with 100 yards. His best effort came in the season finale against the Citadel when he had 191. He would earn 1st team All-SEC honors as a wide receiver and end his time in Columbia in the top ten of South Carolina’s receiving categories.

Strengths

  • Fast off the line of scrimmage.
  • Disciplined player and individual, with credit going to his military upbringing (father and grandfather are Marine veterans).
  • Change of direction and improvisation skills in pass coverage.
  • Great body control and balance.
  • Athleticism and versatility will make him an asset on special teams.
  • Was still able to produce at a high level despite being the focus of opposing defenses while at South Carolina.

Weaknesses

  • Not a ‘burner’. Cooper chose not to run the 40 at the 2016 NFL Combine, a move which NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper applauded: “I don’t think Pharoh Cooper hurt himself at all. Guys that aren’t necessarily burners would be better off waiting for their Pro Day. Most of these Pro Day times are better than the Combines. If speed is not your forte, if that is not where you excel, you’re better off waiting.”
  • Height not ideal to be a downfield threat.
  • Needs to improve route running.

NFL Comparison: Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Teams with need at the position: Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angles Ra,ms Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers

Projection: Second – third Round

Bottom Line

Cooper’s abilities will work best in a scheme that will allow him to maximize his talents. He will be a factor instantly on special teams and with time, can become a key factor in an offense the way he was at South Carolina. Graded as one of the top ten wide receivers in this year’s class, Cooper is a hidden gem that will be a steal for the team that takes him.

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