- Rich Cimini, ESPN New York Jets reporter
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This is the sixth in a series highlighting players who could be selected by the Jets with the ninth overall pick in the April 25 draft:
Player: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 311 pounds
Scouts, Inc. ranking: 9
Draft projection: 7th to 20th
Scouting report: This would be a controversial pick because no guard has cracked the top 10 since 1997 (Chris Naeole), but I hear the Jets really like Cooper. They have a definite need at the position, but could they pick a guard over a pass rusher or skill-position player? Depends on how the first eight picks fall. In terms of a prospect, Cooper is one of the safest picks in the draft. Some believe he's a better all-around player than Chance Warmack, widely regarded as the top guard. Cooper has rare athleticism for the position. He can pull and block on the run, fast enough to make it to the safety level. He's an elite pass protector and a very good, if not dominant as a run blocker. He cranked out 35 reps on the bench press at the combine, tied for second most among offensive linemen. He could be ideal in a zone-blocking system, which will be a big part of the Jets' new offense.
Key stats: Cooper started 47 games at North Carolina.
Red flags: He underwent left shoulder surgery in January, 2012, to relieve chronic inflammation, but it didn't affect him at all. He was an all-America selection and one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. Cooper played last season at only 285 pounds, light for an NFL guard, but attributed that to playing in an up-tempo, no-huddle offense.
In his own words: "I’d say I’m a combination of power and athleticism. I can, especially with the addition of weight, I can run power. You can look at it from my first three years of film, where we’re a pro-style offense where power was our staple play. And then this year it really showed my athletic ability, getting out in space. We ran a bunch of screens and a lot of things where I was on the second and third level getting on linebackers and DBs and such."
This is the sixth in a series highlighting players who could be selected by the Jets with the ninth overall pick in the April 25 draft:Player: Jonathan Cooper, G, North CarolinaHeight/weight: 6-foot-2, 311 poundsScouts, Inc.