Todd McShay: South Carolina WR Pharoh Cooper needs to improve speed to bolster draft stock
South Carolina receiver Pharoh Cooper finished second in the SEC with a 81.1 yards-per-game average and was tied for third with eight touchdown receptions in 2015. He also finished fifth with 66 receptions.
But those numbers might not have too much of an effect on Cooper’s NFL draft stock.
ESPN analyst Todd McShay said he was going to stand pat on the grade he handed to Cooper prior to the season.
“To me, right around where we ended up giving him the grade in the preseason in that second, third-round range,” McShay said during a conference call Thursday on where he felt Cooper’s draft stock stood. “We gave him a mid-third round (grade) and I don’t think it’ll be that far off in terms of where he winds up going.”
McShay said that Cooper had some “versatility and ability” that would be appealing to NFL teams. He can line up in the slot or outside, said McShay, and also return punts.
It’s what Cooper doesn’t have and might not be able to do that’s holding him back in the draft.
“He doesn’t have elite size and speed,” McShay said. … “It’s not a verified time with him so maybe he’ll be faster. He’s got solid size, solid speed but I don’t know that he’s going to run a time that’s going to make NFL evaluators go back and study the tape.”
McShay mentioned a 40-yard-dash time of 4.5 seconds that Cooper ran in the past. Apparently that sprint wasn’t done on an official clock, so we’re all going to have to wait until the NFL Combine to find out if Cooper can turn some heads with a faster 40 time.
Cooper is only 5-foot-11 and 207 pounds. He put up back-to-back 60-plus-catch seasons and tallied a combined 2,109 receiving yards from 2014-2015. He also hauled in 17 touchdown catches over the past two seasons. But his lack of prototypical NFL size, and a perceived lack of speed may hurt Cooper in the draft.