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Monday, June 27, 2011
Cooper could be good fit for Jaguars, Titans

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Ralph from San Diego hit the mailbag to bring up a name we have not discussed as a free agent possibility in the AFC South.

Owens
Cooper
The Jaguars are definitely in the market for a veteran linebacker or two, and the Titans could also be looking. I’ve mentioned Barrett Ruud, Paul Posluszny and Clint Session.

Asks Ralph: "Do you see any teams in the AFC South making a play for ILB Stephen Cooper from the Chargers? Given the fact that Peyton Manning owns that division, and [Cooper] seems to own Peyton in the battle of wits game, I see him being a major player for the South. Your thoughts?"

I had not thought of him and should have. The big question, of course, is: How he would fit in a 4-3 in Jacksonville or Tennessee? (I think Houston feels it’s got five linebackers for its new 3-4 in Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed.)

So I turned to Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. to ask how Cooper might fare in a 4-3.

“Pretty well actually,” he said. “I think he would fit a WLB, MLB or SLB well -- none of them perfectly, but well enough to be a mid-level starter. He is physical enough for SLB or MLB, but also athletic enough for WLB. Not ideal for any and not a great player vs. the run, but he should be able to play on all downs and is good vs. the pass.”

Not a ringing endorsement, but not a terrible one either. That versatility and history of being able to read Manning well could be attractive. Let’s add Cooper to the list of players who could be an option for the AFC South teams in need of help at linebacker.