Comparisons make Cooper nervous, Cards giddy

Posted by Darren Urban on April 26, 2013 – 3:05 pm

Ryan Williams smiled. He had just met Jonathan Cooper for the first time and as he sat on his stool in front of his locker, he couldn’t help but grin.

“Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about,” Williams said.

Cooper’s introduction came Friday, the day after the Cardinals made the North Carolina guard their No. 1 pick. General Manager Steve Keim tweaked him by wearing a North Carolina State shirt, and the Cards clearly found a player who was articulate, smart and potential backbone in their community efforts.

Mostly, though, the 6-foot-2, 312-pounder looked the part of a massive blocker. No wonder Williams — a running back on a team that struggled to run the ball last season — was happy. Williams didn’t even hear the Michael Irvin-on-NFL Network comparison to Hall of Fame guard Larry Allen, a notion Cardinals coach Bruce Arians wouldn’t dismiss.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt,” Arians said. “Larry, early in his career, was an unbelievably athletic pulling guard that when he got there, good things happened for the offense. This kid has that.”

Cooper didn’t hear about that comparison until today. Nor one to another Hall of Fame guard, Randall McDaniel, who many know around these parts after he grew up in Avondale and went to Arizona State, or multi-time Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, who played for Arians in Pittsburgh during his glory days and later finished his career as a Cardinal.

“Honestly, it makes me a little nervous,” Cooper said. “It’s high expectations and kind of a little bit of pressure, but I also put just as much pressure on myself, and it makes me want to get to work immediately. There are some guys who kind of bask in that hype, but I can’t allow myself to do that. It’s now time for me to prove to myself that I’ve earned that and I deserve that high praise.”

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, who is the de facto offensive line coach, didn’t want to hype Cooper too much although he allowed that he could see similarities to Faneca. The difference, Goodwin said, is that Cooper hasn’t proved a thing yet. He’ll get a chance, though, Goodwin allowed. “When you are picked that high, you are picked that high for a reason,” Goodwin said. Cooper will play but “what that spot is, I couldn’t tell you right now.”

Cooper promised Darnell Dockett when the two met Friday that he was ready to go to work. Williams was long gone by the time Cooper had his press conference, but one of Cooper’s comments would have made Williams grin all over again.

“You want to be able to run that ball and show that your offensive line is good enough to impose your will on the defense,” Cooper said. “So, it would mean a lot to me to establish a running a game here in Arizona. It’s rare that you find teams that can run the ball frequently, and if we can do that, you can be a special team in the NFL.”

I’m guessing that is exactly what Williams was talking about.


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Posted in Blog | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Comparisons make Cooper nervous, Cards giddy”

  1. By Omar on Apr 26, 2013 | Reply

    If Manti Te’o is still available at 38th Pick is there a chance we could grab him?

  2. By Eric G on Apr 26, 2013 | Reply

    Like the trade if Barkley is the guy Arians wants.

  3. By joe holst on Apr 26, 2013 | Reply

    I want another o lineman- keep adam snyder for depth. need to open holes for these running backs. if levi brown goes down again it could get ugly fast..

  4. By Andy Kw on Apr 26, 2013 | Reply

    I bet OG Larry Warford will drop to the 4th Round, this is where our team drafts him. For the 3rd Round, if DL Margus Hunt, RB Eddie Lacy, RB Montee Ball, or WR Keenan Allen are still available in the 3rd, we should draft one of them.

  5. By Chuck1 on Apr 26, 2013 | Reply

    Isn’t it refreshing to have a player who has the MOTIVATION, ABILITY AND SMARTS to change the Card’s offensive (RUNNING) game plan?

    I understand that BA isn’t into running. But, sometimes it comes in handy. Like 1st and goal at the five.



  6. By johnnybluenose on Apr 26, 2013 | Reply

    if cooper can play as well as he expresses himself then we have drafted a great player.

  7. By Brian on Apr 26, 2013 | Reply

    im satisfied with the cooper pick. woulda been sick if we got the guy that was drafted first overall. that guy drives people back.

    cant wait to see cooper pancake somebody!

  8. By ored on Apr 26, 2013 | Reply

    since we’re on a lsu run,i think they have a tackle available still,if not a small louisiana school has a rated tackle also,either could be depth at tackle and players at guard.but i’m thinking we’re more interested in pass rusher and safety right now with an eye out for te and rb.we have’nt hit home runs comparable to the rams and vikings,but so far we’ve been solid and then there’s always saturday.

  9. By William Barry on Apr 27, 2013 | Reply

    I just heard from Herm Edwards, who we all respect, he said Tyron Matthews cause fumbles, make interceptions, and is going to be our new safety. He is going to make a huge impact, also by returning kicks.

  10. By Scott H on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    Alright, here we go…this has GOT TO BE the thing I HATE the most about the NFL draft every year – hearing these guys, these college players who have yet to even put on an NFL practice jersey, being compared to hall of fame players. I ask you, how does that help anyone??? That is SOOOO un-necessary and SOOOO unfair to these young players, to have such comparisons made before they have played a single down in the NFL. I swear, if I became king of the world right now, I would pass a law against this.

    And, Ryan Williams, I understand you being thrilled with the idea of a guy like this joining the O-line, but…really, you need to concern yourself with your owm ability to make it through 4-5 games without injury before you worry about anything else.

    I like this pick. But at the moment, our running game concerns me greatly because of the health issues of the guys we are counting on, namely, Mendenhall and Williams. Williams has been here two seasons and barely played. And there is no telling what Mendenhall is going to be this year and going forward. And my frame of reference here, unfortunatately, is THIS very team one year ago. We went into a season with two RB’s at the top of the depth chart who were injury prone. We lost one after a few games, the other never even really got off the ground, and we had no one behind them that was really capable of carrying the load.

    Hate to say it, but we look to be in exactly the same place right now as we go into trainig camp. Especially since one of the RB’s we are counting on again is one of the same guys we have NOT been able to count on since he’s been here. So…I hope one of these rookies has a little Albert Morris in him. Because we may need someone to come out of nowhere and be special for this team.

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