Cory's Corner: Cooper's Effort Will Impress This Season

Speed and athleticism are Edgerrin Cooper's top two ingredients. Those were the top two ingredients that this defense was missing and will gladly welcome the rookie linebacker's juice this year. 

Seeing De’Vondre Campbell go to of all places, the 49ers, was a bit disappointing. He averaged 92 tackles with Atlanta and he tallied 129 in his first season in Green Bay en route to an All-Pro season. 

But then the Packers made everyone do a heel turn with the selection of Edgerrin Cooper. The 45th selection was the first linebacker off the board. 

Cooper is the guy that you want in the middle of your defense. He is going to cause problems all over the field. He will disrupt the pass game, he will disrupt the run game and he will make opposing offenses have fits.

“The speed that he brings to the table at the linebacker position is rare,” said Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst.

Whenever I watched Texas A&M play the last two years, the offense always had to pinpoint where Cooper was first. Last year, he had 11 tackles and three sacks vs. Alabama. 

The one thing that Cooper could struggle with is that he could over run plays. When Clay Matthews was a young outside linebacker, there were times when he would overrun a play, which would in effect take him out of the play. 

But I love Cooper’s aggressiveness. He is the epitome of what new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. He wants offenses to be uncomfortable and the best way to do that is by being aggressive and forcing the quarterback into quicker and tighter decisions. 

Cooper, 22, is going to make mistakes this year but when you’ve got a guy that is promising to just give 110 percent each day, you have found yourself a winning player. 

Remember when speed and athleticism were traits that the Packers defense sorely lacked? With Cooper and Quay Walker at linebacker combined with a very strong defensive backfield, that isn’t the case anymore. 

There’s a reason why many analysts think that Cooper can be a foundational NFL player. It’s because he’s going to win over his teammates from Day 1 with his heart and effort. 

Guys like that are not easy to come by on defense. And it’s why Hafley has been busy working on his devious laugh because he knows that his new 4-3 scheme is going to be tough to scheme against with a linebacker that can be anywhere at anytime. 

 

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__________________________

Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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12 points
 

Comments (46)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 28, 2024 at 06:40 am

This is mostly off-topic, but yesterday I was looking at all of the other teams' 2024 drafts when I realized something: I would not trade the Packers' draft for ANY other team's 2024 draft. Not ONE of them. There were a few that I'd be okay with, but not a one that I'd pull the trigger on. Between the filling of our holes, and quality and number of our picks, I wouldn't make a trade. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've been able to say that in my 50+ years of being a draftnik.

I recommend you other draftniks give it a look.

11 points
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Cheezehead72's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:09 am

Not that I disagree with you but remember you have take perspective into your analysis. I can see that if you are looking at GB's needs to what other teams drafted.

To be fair you would have to analyze each team's needs to their draft and then determine if they did better or worse than GB. If you did that you have more time than do.

I am not disappointed in the draft.

2 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:16 am

I'm not saying the Packers did a better job drafting than every team; I'm just saying I wouldn't trade ours for theirs. That's especially amazing because we didn't pick until #25.
The "perspective" is cooked in.

6 points
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dobber's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:49 am

"I realized something: I would not trade the Packers' draft for ANY other team's 2024 draft. "

I thought Arizona had an outstanding draft, but they had something like 7 picks in the first two days. Still, I think they got a lot of good pieces, and a couple good developmental pieces on day 3. If you'd swap an early pick out for a safety, I'd take that draft.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:10 am

No swapping allowed in my nonsense fantasy scenario! :-D

2 points
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dobber's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:31 am

I'm all about nonsense, PEO! ;)

1 points
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GregC's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:11 am

I wasn't sad about losing De'Vondre Campbell. He fizzled after that one good season. I would've been okay with keeping him, but they still would've needed to bring in someone like Edgerrin Cooper to compete with him and probably beat him out for one of the starting LB spots. It's interesting that Campbell went to the 49ers though. Will he be able to have a significant role on one of the better defenses in the league? Even if he's just filling in for Dre Greenlaw until he comes back from injury, that's pretty important.

Edgerrin Cooper is an exciting player. I think most people assumed that if the Packers drafted him, he would be the weak side linebacker, with Quay Walker in the middle, but on the depth chart, Cooper is in the middle and Walker on the weak side. It makes sense to me. I think the feeling was that Cooper was too small to play MLB as a pro, but that's not really true. And I love having speed at that position.

4 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:24 am

Gary-Cooper (?!), VanNess-Walker, are all "OLB" types, at least, in the past.
I think it will be interesting to see how this defense is built.

I found the draft very interesting, because it seemed like we picked LBs who play like safeties (fast, good coverage skills), and safeties who play like LBs (better at tackling than covering).

It seems like they are shooting for an "every player can play every position" kind of group, much like they do with the offensive line. It certainly allows for creative game planning.

8 points
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DoubleJ's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:12 am

Gary and Van Ness are also ideally sized for 4-3 DE. While the Packers don't have a speed rusher, I think that playing from a 3-point stance will help Gary especially have a better speed rush threat than before. It would be nice if Gute would draft a speed rusher even if that player is only a passing down specialist, see KGB early in his career.

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dobber's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:55 am

I've always thought that Quay Walker is a prototypical Will and was playing out of position on the inside in the 3-4. If you look at a lot of these even front defenses, the LBs are smaller than Quay Walker's 240, especially in the nickel/4-2-5. I think the Packers are looking for their own version of Fred Warner, and he goes 6'3" 230. The key is versatility and their ability to cover ground...and tackle, of course.

3 points
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DoubleJ's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:09 am

Considering they will be in 4-2-5 nickle most plays there really isn't a MLB then. They will have a WILL and SAM and that will be interesting to see who is on what side. I think that Cooper will end up as WILL due to being slightly smaller than Walker 230lbs vs 240lbs. However, Cooper at SAM wouldn't be surprising either since he is better, in theory, at coverage than Walker.

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:26 am

It's usually the SAM that comes off the field for another DB. Even the box safeties aren't usually lining up in the middle of the field.

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DoubleJ's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:31 am

Depends on who your Mike is in base downs. I think it will be McDuffie who is Mike on base with Cooper at Sam and Walker at Will.

0 points
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T7Steve's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:18 am

Almost all things in football can be coached/taught and learned. Speed isn't one of them.

Slow him down till he gets his feet under him, then cut him loose. Rather have him be able to overrun a play than watch it playout from behind (or the sideline).

6 points
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stockholder's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:30 am

Cooper fell in the draft.
And that says development.
His size at 6'2" 230, says WLB.
Not MLB like we're being told.
So don't expect a great from the past.
While everyone thinks your going to see
a OLD 4-3 scheme.
Cooper was in 4-2- 5 ===
DE NT DT Edge MLB WLB LCB SS FS RCB NB
And the switch is on throughout the NFL.
Those long arms are what to like.
But I just don't believe he can hold up.
And Walker will be your MLB before this season is done.

-13 points
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dobber's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:59 am

If they're going to play the majority of their defensive snaps with 2 off-ball LBs, there is no MLB. Just two guys who need to be able to run.

10 points
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DoubleJ's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:28 am

Don't confuse stockholder with facts.

7 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:59 am

Stockholder is actually right on this one. A good example is the 49ers, Oren Burks was their Sam and the 1st LB off the field. Everything fell apart for them after Greenlaw was hurt and Burks had to play Will but either way Warner was the MLB and hardly ever left the field. Taking the MLB off the field would be begging offenses to run up the gut.

0 points
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DoubleJ's picture

May 28, 2024 at 10:04 am

It all depends on who your Mike is. For the Packers in base I see the Mike being McDuffie with Cooper at Sam and Walker at Will. Neither Cooper or Walker are good choices for Mike in base.

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 28, 2024 at 10:12 am

The point is there will be a MLB on the field in nickel. Maybe they'll spread out more on strictly passing downs but you don't put a nickel back at MLB.

Here's some good examples. The only time the middle of the field was open was on downs they knew the Vikings had to pass.

https://x.com/BookOfEli_NFL/status/1742717448434950526?t=C4pB-4mvEFKDc8j...

1 points
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dobber's picture

May 28, 2024 at 10:52 am

I think the three of us are coming from different places on this, but I don't think we're saying different things. Yes, the responsibilities of an MLB never go away when they go from 4-3-4 to 4-2-5. Someone has to do those things.

5 points
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DoubleJ's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:27 am

"Cooper fell in the draft.
And that says development."

He didn't fall in the draft at all. He was picked right where most people thought he would be drafted as he was 46th on the consensus big board and picked at 45 overall. Payton Wilson is the one who fell and that was due to medicals.

"His size at 6'2" 230, says WLB.
Not MLB like we're being told.
So don't expect a great from the past."

I agree that he is most likely a Will than a Mike. At the same time he could easily be a Sam as his coverage is better than Walker. You have to remember that the team will be in 4-2-5 probably 75% or more of the time. When they go to 4-3-4, I could see McDuffie coming in as the Mike.

"While everyone thinks your going to see
a OLD 4-3 scheme.
Cooper was in 4-2- 5"

Literally anyone who knows anything about modern football knows that while they are now a 4-3 base D they will be in 4-2-5 most plays. This is because more offenses are running 3 wide all the time. At the same time on more common rushing downs against 3 wide don't be surprised if the Packers run Big Nickle where they have 3 safeties on the field with one covering the slot.

"DE NT DT Edge MLB WLB LCB SS FS RCB NB
And the switch is on throughout the NFL."

You don't have your alignments right. In the 4-2-5 traditionally you have DE, 1-tech DT, 3-tech DT, DE, Will, Sam, LCB, SS, FS, NB, RCB. Now Edge and DE can be interchangeable verbiage, however, usually Edge is used for an OLB in a 3-4. Both 3-4 & 4-3 have DEs but they play at different locations at the LOS.

"Those long arms are what to like.
But I just don't believe he can hold up.
And Walker will be your MLB before this season is done."

With Coopers speed and success in CFB for blitzing don't be surprised if he is used to blitz quite a lot. Again they will be in nickle for most plays so you don't have a Mike LB on the field. I believe that when they are in base 4-3 that McDuffie will be the Mike with Walker at Will and Cooper at Sam.

3 points
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Packman60's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:30 am

Cooper didn't fall in the draft. He was projected by most to be picked between pick 40 and the end of the 2nd. He went right where he was projected. He will be fine at MLB and I expect he'll add about 5-10 lbs during next years off-season after a year spent with the Packers training staff.

5 points
7
2
stockholder's picture

May 28, 2024 at 01:20 pm

I just can't believe how you guys
come up with shit to change my words.

Quote - Cooper was "in" a 4-2-5.
Ourlads listed the defense with the back-ups.
There was a MLB. I copied it by position.

As far as his drop-
Need became the issue
for a team possibly taking him rd.1
Per Mocks.
If Gutey traded down.
He wasn't worried where he would go.
We drafted 2 ILBs people.

-4 points
2
6
DoubleJ's picture

May 28, 2024 at 01:38 pm

"Ourlads listed the defense with the back-ups."

Ourlads is making a guess for positions and is not the official depth chart. Not to mention that looking at that site doesn't show what would be considered a 4-3 base setup. Makes it even worse as a source, however, you like it because it gives you confirmation bias.

"Need became the issue
for a team possibly taking him rd.1
Per Mocks."

Taking an off-ball LB in R1 usually isn't a good idea. In fact the NFL teams are usually pretty bad about ranking off-ball LBs, just like TE, and lots of time the best one isn't the first even several that were drafted. Now using "mocks" are your resource for him being dropping is pathetic. Mocks mean absolutely nothing and are basically a way to generate site views during slow periods of time. About the only thing they do is generate a consensus idea of about where a player will go via group think. In this case the consensus was he would go around 46 and he went at 45, THAT ISN'T A DROP!!!!

4 points
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1
stockholder's picture

May 28, 2024 at 04:06 pm

What? Gute drafted Hopper @91.
And he was a 5th rd.projection.
Confidence in Cooper?
I doubt it. - - Try WLB

-3 points
1
4
jannes bjornson's picture

May 28, 2024 at 05:04 pm

No, he was rated a couple of clicks below Cooper(87); so Hopper (93) was rated a round three grade, by Pauline.
The rest is subjective. I see Cooper as the Pass Rush demon with speed off the Edge. Holding the middle ground, not so much. He gave Colson the higher ranking at # 47 with Gray (70 )and Wilson(71). See who shines by the end of the Fall Term.

0 points
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stockholder's picture

May 28, 2024 at 05:10 pm

JB= NFL .com had him fifth,
Several others rated him a fifth.
I'll bet cbs did too.
I get you have yours.
But the conscious opinion is what I
have constantly used.
I'll take Wilson - Rook of year Team.

-4 points
1
5
jannes bjornson's picture

May 28, 2024 at 07:14 pm

Hopper was a candidate for the Butkus Award and he knows the Game. Pauline's ratings usually land in the 80% range. He has his sources and works the film all season long preparing his board. I would have gone for Beebe, or a CB in Rd Two.

0 points
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DoubleJ's picture

May 29, 2024 at 07:46 am

"But the conscious opinion is what I
have constantly used."

That is absolutely laughable. Unless you consider the million voices in your head to be the conscious opinion. In reality your "conscious opinion" goes against what 90% of draftniks and anyone who knows a lick about football says.

"I'll take Wilson - Rook of year Team."

Wilson is an interesting player. However, he has a VERY long injury report. One report says that he doesn't have an ACL in one leg and teams view him as a single contract player. That said with Hafley's D I think Cooper will be better this year that Wilson.

2 points
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1
jannes bjornson's picture

May 30, 2024 at 07:17 pm

Or, he lands on IR. All-rookie doesn't turn the screws. A Pro Bowl, or the rare All-PRO award does get one's attention.

0 points
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DoubleJ's picture

May 29, 2024 at 07:35 am

Hooper was 176 on the consensus board. Being taken at 91 was by consensus a reach. However, we won't know until a couple years from now who was right. Overall Hooper has some traits that are quite interesting. He is also a very good blitzer and was decent in coverage. IMO he will be the Mike starting in 2025.

-1 points
0
1
WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 29, 2024 at 01:16 pm

Who cares where he was drafted. Gutey has had some great picks. If Hopper works out, it will be worth it. Not all boards are the same, period.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

May 30, 2024 at 05:51 am

But Gutey could have had better picks.
And thats the Bitch.

-1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

May 28, 2024 at 04:53 pm

Maybe Hopper wins a starting job? Open competion. Walker is not instinctive. See what happens year three? I wouldn't guarantee anything, to anybody.

-1 points
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DoubleJ's picture

May 29, 2024 at 07:47 am

I think Hooper will be the Mike starting in 2025 as McDuffie's contract is up this year.

0 points
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NickPerry's picture

May 29, 2024 at 04:25 am

"Cooper fell in the draft.
And that says development."

SIGH...One of these days you'll be happy about most Packers picks instead of...Well, you know. Common SH!

Cooper went pretty much where most thought he would. Sure, you can find those who say he fell, just like I can find those who say he went right where he should have. I'm excited as hell about this kid, can't wait to watch him in this defense. New DC...New LB Coach...

3 points
3
0
stockholder's picture

May 30, 2024 at 07:12 am

This would have been my draft
Based on No trades and who was there.

#25 DeJean. CB -Slot /S Regardless
#41 Tyler Nubin. S- Replaces Later Safeties
#58 Kingsley Sumataia OT- He'll start before Morgan
#88 Payton Wilson. ILB - Inj. be damned
#91 TJ TAMPA. CB - Steal of the draft
#126 Jordan Magee. ILB -

0 points
2
2
justjan's picture

May 31, 2024 at 02:58 pm

don't care.

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 28, 2024 at 09:33 am

For the defense to be successful Cooper needs to be better than Walker was as a rookie. No hitting the wrong gap and leaving holes a truck could drive through. Hopefully Hafley's emphasis on fundamentals gets him off to a good start.

Ideally I think you want Cooper at WLB, McDuffie in the middle and Walker at SLB in base with Walker moving to the middle in nickel but that might be putting too much on Walker's plate. He's not the most instinctive guy so letting him stay at one position is probably for the best.

0 points
3
3
DoubleJ's picture

May 28, 2024 at 10:05 am

With the team going from 2 gap > 1 gap that should help Walker. He no longer will have to read what the offense is doing. He just has to make sure he fills his gap.

1 points
1
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 28, 2024 at 10:37 am

He's not really aces in that department either. There are numerous examples of him saying away from taking on linemen.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 28, 2024 at 01:49 pm

Quay Walker was All-Rookie in 2022. He played over 800 defensive snaps as a rookie and played over 90% of the defensive snaps last year. If Cooper even comes close to that, we'll be fine.

3 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

May 28, 2024 at 02:35 pm

Cooper or Hopper, as long as they belong they have to play.

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

May 28, 2024 at 05:20 pm

He was good in coverage for a rookie, average as a pass rusher and below average as a run defender. How many snaps he played doesn't say how well he played, just means the alternatives were worse.

1 points
2
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Heyjoe414's picture

May 30, 2024 at 07:54 am

I think the addition of Cooper will result in Walker playing better. Walker is a very fast, athletic player, but it takes more than one guy like that at LB. It was a great draft pick.

0 points
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1