The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Potential Cowboys 2013 Draft Picks: Jonathan Cooper and Alex Okafor

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At NBC, I posted a scouting report on a guard the Cowboys could target in the first round: UNC’s Jonathan Cooper.

Cooper is hands down the best pulling guard I’ve ever studied. He’s listed at 6’3’’, 310 pounds, although there’s a good chance he weighs closer to his college playing weight of 300 or so. Cooper uses his “lean” frame to move with ease to the second level of defenses. He’s as agile as any interior lineman I’ve seen, dashing across the field and having the athleticism to move with linebackers. When Cooper is on the move, he’s at his best.

Because of his “finesse” skill set, Cooper excels on plays like counters and screens when he can get in space. He struggles when he’s asked to anchor against big, strong defensive linemen. He can still hold up at the point-of-attack because he’s so athletic and generally able to play with outstanding leverage, but he struggles with bull rushes from powerful defenders.

Check out the full scouting report at NBC.

And at Dallas News, I published a scouting report on Texas defensive end Alex Okafor.

Okafor was measured at 6’5’’ and 261 pounds at the Senior Bowl, which makes him an interesting prospect. At his current weight, he’s a bit undersized to play the strong side defensive end position in a 4-3 defense, but he doesn’t necessarily have the skill set of a weak side end. Okafor is an extremely strong and powerful player who holds up very well against the run, but he doesn’t have elite burst off the edge. He’s also a bit stiff in the hips—not necessarily an elite natural athlete—so he probably can’t be asked to drop into coverage too much as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Because of this, Okafor’s probable fit in the NFL will be as an undersized strong side 4-3 defensive end.

Although Okafor doesn’t have great speed to his rush, he uses his power to get to the quarterback. His bull rush is perhaps the best I’ve seen from someone with his size; he continually drives offensive tackles into the backfield. Even when he didn’t get a sack, Okafor frequently made it difficult for the quarterback to step up and throw. Since he’s not a speed rusher, he rarely overruns the quarterback.

Check out the rest at DMN.

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