With the 69th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select… Cooper Kupp.
When Kupp’s name was announced, most fans probably took to Twitter to try to figure out more about Kupp. A crafty receiver out of Eastern Washington who owns just about every record at the collegiate level, Kupp is impressive. So, why did he fall all the way to the third round? The competition that the receiver faced while at EWU was not of the highest quality. NFL scouts found it too easy to disregard Kupp’s record and write him off as a guy who was too slow to succeed in the NFL. It looks like the joke is on them, as the Rams organization got an absolute steal by taking Kupp in the third round.
The rookie wideout has put up impressive numbers to this point in the season. It is also important to note that Kupp is able to do all of this in a very crowded receiving group. Running sharp routes with reliables hands, Kupp has become a third-down favorite target of Jared Goff. In the absence of Robert Woods, he has just elevated his play. Going for over 100 yards two of the past three weeks it is now possible that Kupp gets over 1,000 yards for the season. The rookie will need just over 70 receiving yards per game to do so.
On Sunday the Rams played their biggest game of the season to date, and Kupp stepped up big time. We stepped into the film room and looked at some of the things that made him so dangerous.
The Quick Out
Here are two prime examples of a route that Kupp runs best, the quick out. The rookie wideout gets a good release going up the field and then breaks hard for the sideline. Goff knows his receiver well and is able to hit him right out of his break. Another excellent feature of Kupp’s game is how he never settles for just going out of bounds. In the top play, he has nowhere to go after making his move and has no extra gain.
However, in the second play, Kupp was able to make two great moves and go for a huge gain. At this point in the game, the Rams were down by 14 points and needed a momentum swing, which Kupp provided. The fact that he is amongst the top five in receivers in the league in missed tackles is a tribute to his endless motor to get more yards.
The Corner Route
Now featured is another one of Kupp’s most iconic routes, the corner route. Kupp runs a very unconventional corner route, not sharp like most receivers do. Kupp runs his corner route slightly to the post and then rounds his route back to the corner once the defender turns his hips.
What makes the rookie so good at this route is his ability to find windows in the defense. Especially when facing a zone, like in the top play, Kupp gets into an open space between the corner and outside linebacker. As soon as he gets himself into that window, Goff finds Kupp with the ball for a big gain and the Rams are set up in the redzone.
The Whip Route
Kupp is a major target for the Rams in the redzone. One of his biggest goalline routes was on display on Sunday, the whip route. Facing man coverage on the outside, Kupp has only his man to beat. After a hesitation move off the line of scrimmage, the rookie breaks inside as if he is running a slant route. After just two steps, he sticks his foots in the ground and breaks to the outside, getting his head around for the ball.
Catching the ball around the four, Kupp was a long way from the endzone. With his defender dragging him down, he extended the ball to the corner of the endzone and notched a touchdown for the Rams.
At this point in the season, Kupp has already hauled in 56 passes for a total of 783 yards. The Rams rookie has football knowledge that goes far beyond his years, a valuable asset to his game. Sure, Kupp is not the fastest receiver on the field, but he doesn’t have to be. Constantly finding holes in the defense is his expertise, and he does it better than most receivers that have much more experience.
Be on the lookout for the kid out of Eastern Washington to make an even bigger splash than he already has. Or, just keep sleeping on him, Kupp really doesn’t care.
All clips courtesy of the NFL and created by Giphy
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